Eighth Global Nitrogen Conference focuses on sustainable development goals

Assessing and managing nitrogen compounds sustainably will be crucial to achieve the 17 UN SDGs targeted for 2030

By India Science Wire
Published: Monday 31 May 2021
Urea, which contains nitrogen, being manufactured by Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation Ltd in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. Photo: Sanjeev Kumar Kanchan / CSE

The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the main focus of the eighth triennial conference of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) being held virtually from May 31-June 3, 2021.

The conference was postponed from May last year due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Over 800 scientists and other stakeholders from over 60 countries are attending the conference.

Also for the first time since the inception of INI two decades ago, its conference being hosted by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt–UBA). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety is supporting the UBA, a statement released by the INI, said.

Nandula Raghuram, chair of the INI and professor of biotechnology from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, said:

Reactive nitrogen compounds like NOx, ammonia and the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide impact air, water and soil quality, health, biodiversity and climate change, among others. These compounds are lost from fertilisers, manures and sewage as well as from fuel burning in transport and industry. Assessing and managing them sustainably will be crucial to achieve the 17 UN SDGs targeted for 2030.

The increasing inter-governmental attention to reactive nitrogen is evident from the programme posted on the conference website (ini2021.com). Apart from scientists and German government, the conference will be addressed by speakers from UN Environment Programme, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and UN Economic Commission on Europe, among others.

The website also carries a draft of the Berlin Declaration for comments, which will be finalised and adopted during the concluding session of the conference June 3. Nitrous oxide has upto 300 times higher global warming potential than carbon dioxide and the UK government is highlighting it in the run up to the UNFCC COP26 to be held at Glasgow in November this year.

Tapan Adhya, director of the INI South Asia Nitrogen Centre said:

South Asia is one of the global hotspots for nitrogen pollution. The Indian nitrogen assessment of 2017 has provided a huge impetus to the UN resolution, as well as to the ongoing South Asian nitrogen assessment. Millions of lives and livelihoods are affected by nitrogen pollution, apart from loss of fertilisers worth billions of dollars from farms. (India Science Wire)

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