The Nairobi Convention Secretariat, executing agent for the GEF-funded 'Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the protection of the Western Indian Ocean from land-based sources and activities’ (WIOSAP) Project, in collaboration with the Global Programme of Action hosted a workshop on application of tools and approaches for the management of land-based pollution. Some 40 technical and policy experts from countries of the western Indian Ocean attended the workshop, held in Maputo, Mozambique over the 10 and 11 December 2018. Christopher Cox, Programme Officer of UN Environment's Global Programme of Action provided training on tools developed under GPNM and Global Wastewater Initiative (GW2I) collaborations.
Three specific tools were featured in the training; (1) the nutrient runoff calculator derived from the Global NEWS (Global Nutrient Export from WaterSheds) model that is contained in the GPNM nutrient management toolbox; (2) a wastewater technology matrix (screening assessment) tool developed by the Global Wastewater Initiative in association with the International Water Association (IWA), and (3) the ecosystem health report card that has been applied in GPNM-supported projects in India and the Philippines. The workshop participants aim to apply the GPNM and GW2I tools in development and implementation of on-ground interventions in participating countries in the GEF-WIOSAP Project.
At the 9th Global Environment Facility’s International Waters Conference (IWC9) convened in Marrakech, Morocco over the 3 to 8 November; the two UN Environment GEF projects on nutrient management were profiled; the Global Nutrient Cycle (GNC) Project and the Toward an International Nitrigen Management System (INMS) Project. The GEF International Waters Conference, a biennial signature event of the GEF International Waters portfolio was held under the theme "Sustaining International Waters Cooperation." The conference brought together some 300 GEF-IW project managers, representatives of beneficiary countries, non-governmental organizations, transboundary management institutions, UN Agencies and the private sector to facilitate cross-sectoral and GEF IW Portfolio-wide learning and experience sharing.
The project managers and technical collaborators of the Global Nutrient Cycle Project and the Toward an International Nitrogen Management System (INMS) Project hosted two sessions within the 'Clinic Carousel' segment of the conference agenda on the impacts of nutrient pollution in the environment. The resource persons were Christopher Cox, Project Manager of the GNC Project, UN Environment, Sara Walker, Senior Manager, World Resources Institute (WRI) and Wilfried Winiwater, Senior Reserach Fellow of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The GEF-Global Nutrient Cycle Project and the Toward an International Nitrogen Management System Project jointly mounted an exhibition booth at the conference that won first prize :) in conference participant voting. Bilateral discussions were led with various partners on possibilities to build on addressing the nutrient challenge through further GEF investments.
The 4th Intergovernmental Review of the Global Programme of Action was hosted by the Government of Indonesia in Bali, Indonesia over the 31 October to 01 November 2018. The review meeting was attended by more than 240 delegates, representing over 60 countries. The meeting was also attended by UN partner agencies, intergovernmental organizations observers, experts, the private sector and the academia. The meeting considered the review of the work of the Programme since the last intergovernmental review held in the Philippines in 2012, the outlook on future work and strategic options for management of the Programme in relation to mandate and alignment to the UN Environment Assembly.
The meeting concluded with a ‘Bali Declaration’ where countries affirmed the need for continued focus on the priority marine pollution categories namely marine litter, nutrients and wastewater. The countries underscored the value of the work of the global partnerships associated with the three pollution categories with encouragement for strengthening; namely the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM), the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) and the Global Wastewater Initiative (GW2I). The meeting directed the Global Programme of Action (GPA) Coordination Office to continue the review process of the future operational options of the Programme for consideration by countries at the Fourth Session of United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4).
On 24 October 2018, the Global Programme of Action (GPA), together with the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) and the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) organized a side event “Towards an International Global Agenda to Address Pollution from forms of Reactive Nitrogen and Nutrients across Air, Land, Water, and Oceans” on the margins of the 5th Annual Subcommittee meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to UN Environment. The event was an opportunity to discuss the growing global challenge of nutrient pollution and impacts on human and environmental health, with a focus on reactive nitrogen. Participants also learned how UN Environment and partners are addressing the nutrient pollution challenge under the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) mandate and through major flagship initiatives such as the International Nitrogen Management System (INMS). Discussions explored potential opportunities to strengthen the positioning of the issue of sustainable nutrient management and environmental concerns within a global-level governance space.
Mark Sutton of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and director of the GEF-Toward an International Nitrogen Management System Project (also representing the GPNM and INI), Lori Dando, Permanent Representative of the United States to UNEP, and N. Raghuram of the International Nitrogen Initiative delivered featured addresses on the nutrient/nitrogen challenge at the global level and in the context of the United States and India.
Over the 24 to 28 September, the Secretariat of the Global Partnership on Nutriment Management, in association with the Global Programme of Action (GPA), in co-operation with the Freshwater Ecosystems Unit of UN Environment, organized a technical exchange between experts from Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) of the Philippines, Chilika Lake Development Authority (CDA) of India and national stakeholders concerned with preserving the environmental and water quality of Lake Naivasha in Kenya. This exchange was to facilitate the development of an Ecosystem Health Report Card (EHRC) in a replication effort for Lake Naivasha, based on work undertaken in India and the Philippines as part of the GEF-Global Nutrient Cycle Project, that is executed by the Global Programme of Action with oversight by the Steering Committee of the GPNM. On Monday 24 September, the experts and participants convened at UN Environment for a Symposium that marked the commencement of the activity, where they had a chance to meet various stakeholders, including UN Environment technical personnel, and representatives from Permanent Missions to UN Environment in Nairobi. This was followed by a three-day workshop with local stakeholders at Naivasha in which participants discussed the water pollution challenges and key considerations related to the development of an Ecosystem Health Report Card for Lake Naivasha. Nutrient pollution loading was identified among the critical issues that are plaguing the lake ecosystem. The workshop concluded with the development of roadmap for replication of the ecosystem health scorecard for Lake Naivasha in coming months.
Core funding for the technical exchange was from the UN Environment project ‘Addressing the Nutrient Challenge through an Effective Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM), the ‘GEF Global Nutrient Cycle Project’; and ‘Strengthening the normative basis for planning, monitoring and managing water quality for aquatic ecosystems’, a project supported under UN Environment's Freshwater Ecosystems Unit. Further assistance was provided under GEF-International Waters Learning Exchange and Resources Network (IW LEARN) in the participation of two participants associated with related GEF and World Bank projects in the Caribbean and Romania.
Key collaborators included the Laguna Lake Development Authority, National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, India, Imarisha Naivasha, Lake Naivasha Riparian Association, World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Ministry of Water of Kenya, Water Resources Authority of Kenya and the National Environment Management Authority of Kenya.
UN Environment, under the Global Programme of Action (GPA) in association with IOC-UNESCO, brought together some 23 scientific experts, Regional Seas Programmes (HELCOM, NOWPAP, MAP) and earth observation specialists from NASA Ames Research Center and the European Space Agency working on the science of marine pollution indicators, data capture and dissemination, to advance the global methodology development on eutrophication and plastic debris assessment under SDG Target 14.1. The meeting was convened in Paris over 12-13 September 2018. The Science Division of UN Environment provided technical support and guidance to the deliberations. Experts from the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management and the Global Partnership on Marine Litter contributed to the deliberations.
The meeting reviewed the state of science on the SDG 14.1 target indicators, specifically, the index of coastal eutrophication potential (ICEP) and floating plastic debris, along with other relevant metrics. The meeting also explored the application of ‘big data’ through earth observation systems and how these can be applied in monitoring freshwater and coastal pollution. Participants considered the process to facilitate country adoption of a ‘harmonized approach’ to report on the SDG14.1 target. The meeting outputs will advance the indicator methodology development for consideration by the SDGs Inter-Agency and Expert Group under the UN Statistical Commission.
Phosphorus is an essential element for both plant and animal growth and is not replaceable by other elements. In the last 50 years phosphate fertilizers have enhanced crop yields, providing food for billions of people and livestock. World food security is dependent on sufficient access to phosphorus fertilizers for farmers. Phosphorus security is critical for realizing many goals of global society. These include food security and provision of clean water, integrity of ecosystems and fertile soils, maintaining livelihoods, human health and geopolitical security. However, there is little global joined-up thinking about how we can deliver a secure phosphorus future.
At the 6th Sustainable Phosphorus Summit (SPS2018) held in Brasilia, Brazil over the 20 to 22 August 2018, diverse science, policy and industry stakeholders gathered together from different parts of the food production and consumption chain, to advance knowledge and identify actions regarding the role of phosphorus availability and accessibility in food security and agriculture, protecting the environment, and supporting rural and urban livelihoods. The summit was organized by Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMPRAPA).
Participants agreed that there is emerging consensus on a global declaration from the scientific community on more sustainable phosphorus management. This message was carried from the third European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference held in Helsinki, Finland in June 2018 where scientists considered a "Helsinki Declaration", a global call to policy makers worldwide to support progression towards more sustainable phosphorus management. The Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) Secretariat contributed to a session on ‘Phosphorus and global environmental governance’ that sought to gain consensus and recommendations on a global policy strategic approach that may be facilitated by UN Environment and feed into implementation of the Third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-3) resolutions on pollution, with specific reference to the resolution on water pollution.
The Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) case study on Nutrient Management Valuation in Rondonópolis municipality in the upper Pantanal Region of South America has concluded. The study was led by Felipe Pacheco of the Brazil National Institute for Space Research in association with the Federal University of Mato Grosso.
The study resulted in a valuation methodology to assess nitrogen and phosphorus inputs from fertilizer application and other pathways; the outflows from the system, and estimated costs and benefits in terms of agricultural production, human health, ecosystem and climate impacts. The Vermelho River watershed, a 23,265 km2 basin was used to develop the methodology.
The study concluded that the total costs tend to exceed the benefit of nitrogen fertilization by US$2.3 million dollars per year. This value is relatively low compared to the total of the benefits estimated at US$37 million and costs estimated at US$39 million, where the benefits of nitrogen use is offset by the impact of nitrogen emissions. The obvious options for better practice are reducing emissions NH3 and N2O, as these reactive nitrogen emissions generate most social and environmental costs. The common use of urea as fertilizer in the region may represent the main source of ammonium volatilization. Changes in the type of fertilizer use (e.g, ammonium sulphate) may be an option to reduce reactive nitrogen emissions.
The methodology and approach applied can be used as a tool for local and regional agricultural production planning in Brazil and applied potentially to other countries through the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM). This work, is the first of its kind in a developing country; and there are possibilities will be scaled-up under the GEF-Toward and Integrated Nitrogen Management System (INMS) Project being implemented by the UN Environment.
The full report along and policy brief for decision makers are available here.