15 March 2019: During the closing plenary of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4), delegates adopted a resolution calling for a coordinated and collaborative approach to sustainable nitrogen (N) management.

The resolution titled, ‘Sustainable Nitrogen Management’ (UNEP/EA.4/L.16), recognizes the multiple pollution threats resulting from anthropogenic reactive nitrogen, with adverse effects on the terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments and contributing to air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and highlights ways to better manage nitrogen.

The resolution supports exploring options for better management of the global nitrogen cycle to achieve the SDGs, including through the “sharing of assessment methodologies, relevant best practices and guidance documents and emerging technologies for recovery and recycling of nitrogen and other such nutrients.”

Options for better management include: consideration of an intergovernmental coordination mechanism on nitrogen policies based primarily on existing networks and platforms; ensuring coordinated management of the relevant datasets relating to multiple environmental, food and health benefits of possible goals for improved nitrogen management; promotion of appropriate training and capacity building for policymakers and practitioners for developing widespread understanding and awareness of the nitrogen cycling and opportunities for action; and supporting Member States with sharing and making available existing information and knowledge on developing an evidence-based approach to nitrogen management. [UNEA-4 Resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management] [IISD RS Summary UNEA-4]