UN passes resolution for sustainable nitrogen management


During the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA4), delegates endorsed a draft resolution for sustainable nitrogen management.

UN emblemHeld in Nairobi, Kenya 11-15 March 2019, the committee of permanent representatives approved seven draft resolutions related to the protection of the marine environment from land-based activities.

Delegates adopted the resolution calling for a coordinated and collaborative approach to sustainable nitrogen (N) management, referred to as UNEP/EA.4/L.16.

The sustainable nitrogen management resolution was highlighted in the opening remarks of Charlotte Hebebrand, Director General of the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) at the New Ag International/ IFA conference on Slow- Controlled Release and Stabilised Fertilizers held in Dublin, Republic of Ireland 25-27th March. Hebebrand said there were increasingly pressing calls to improve Nutrient Use Efficiency through innovation and adoption of fertilizer best management practices.

UNEA resolutions are not legally binding, as pointed out by Hebebrand.

Resolutions are said to represent the joint aspirations of the international community, says the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in its report on UNEA4.In the resolution there was a list of what was recognised and noted. For example, the resolution says that it recognizes that “global crop production in the world and the world’s food security is dependent on nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus resource use.”

It noted that “global economy-wide nitrogen use is extremely inefficient with over 80% of anthropogenic reactive nitrogen lost to the environment, which leads to water, soil and air pollution that threatens human health, wellbeing and ecosystem services and contributes to climate change, due to increases in greenhouse gas emissions, and stratospheric ozone depletion.”

The resolution calls on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to consider various action points, including to “Consider the options to facilitate better coordination of policies across the global nitrogen cycle at the national, regional and global levels.”

Another, longer call on the UNEP, made references to best practices: “Support exploration of the options, in close collaboration with relevant UN bodies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, and multilateral environmental agreements as appropriate for better management of the global nitrogen cycle, and how these could help achieve Sustainable Development Goals, including sharing of assessment methodologies, relevant best practices and guidance documents and emerging technologies for recovery and recycling of nitrogen and other such nutrients.”

For UN text on UNEA4 Resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management, click.



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