The accelerated use of nitrogen and phosphorus is at the centre of a complex web of development benefits and environmental problems.
They are key to crop production and half of the world’s food security is dependent on nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer use. But excess nutrients from fertilizers, fossil fuel burning, and wastewater from humans, livestock, aquaculture and industry lead to air, water, soil and marine pollution, with loss of biodiversity and fish, destruction of ozone and additional global warming potential.
The problems will intensify as the demand for food and bio-fuels increase, and growing urban populations produce more wastewater. This will be at a growing economic cost to countries in the undermining of ecosystems, notably in the costal zone, and the services and jobs they provide.
The Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) is a response to this ‘nutrient challenge’ – how to reduce the amount of excess nutrients in the global environment consistent with global development. The GPNM reflects a need for strategic, global advocacy to trigger governments and stakeholders in moving towards lower nitrogen and phosphorous inputs to human activities. It provides a platform for governments, UN agencies, scientists and the private sector to forge a common agenda, mainstreaming best practices and integrated assessments, so that policy making and investments are effectively ‘nutrient proofed’. The GPNM also provide a space where countries and other stakeholders can forge more co-operative work across the variety of international & regional fora and agencies dealing with nutrients, including the importance of assessment work.