INMS letter to UN Secretary-General

Mr. António Guterres

Secretary General                     

United Nations Headquarters

New York                                                                                                                             23 October 2019


Dear Mr Guterres,

Global action on nitrogen is essential to tackle the current environmental crisis

As representatives of the global scientific community, we draw your attention to the global nitrogen challenge facing humanity. If we want to beat climate change, air pollution, water pollution, biodiversity loss, soil degradation and stratospheric ozone depletion, then a new focus on nitrogen will be vital.

The present environmental crisis is much more than a carbon problem. Nitrogen is almost everywhere relevant across the Sustainable Development Goals, but is currently invisible. Nitrogen poses a threat to the health of humans, animals and plants, and to livelihoods globally. It has many forms: ammonia and nitrogen dioxide are dangerous air pollutants, nitrate is devastating ecosystems in our rivers, seas and soils, and nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The current lack of policy coherency risks nitrogen trade-offs, while failing to harvest synergies at local, regional and global scales.

Nitrogen is not just another problem, but must be part of the solution. Sustainable nitrogen management would help prevent millions of premature deaths, help ensure food security, and simultaneously help protect wildlife and the ozone layer. Globally, nitrogen losses from crop, meat and dairy production, transport, energy and wastewater represent a massive resource waste of $200 billion annually. An ambitious goal to ‘Halve Nitrogen Waste’ from all sources globally by 2030 would save $100 billion per year, while mobilizing innovation to beat pollution globally. We are committed to support work on this goal. We now call on UN Member States to wake up to the challenge.

We welcome the planned launch of the UN Environment Programme ‘Sustainable Nitrogen Campaign’ on 23-24 October under the leadership of H.E. President Sirisena of Sri Lanka as a contribution to United Nations Day 2019. We ask you to raise the nitrogen challenge with world leaders, building awareness of both the urgent need and the opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Prof. Mark A. Sutton
Environmental Physicist, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), UK

Director, GEF UNEP International Nitrogen Management System (INMS)
Director, UKRI GCRF South Asian Nitrogen Hub
Co-chair, UNECE Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen (TFRN)

co-signed by 197 signatories from 44 countries

cc.        H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, President and holder of the environment portfolio, Sri Lanka

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme



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Current Number of Signatories: 197


Title Forename Surname Country Organisation/Institution Role or other designation
Dr. Sergiy Medinets Ukraine Odesa National I. I. Mechnikov University Senior Researcher
Dr. Kari Austnes Norwegian Institute for Water Research
Prof. Md. Mizanur Rahman Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University Teaching and conducting research
Professor Roberth Howarth USA Cornell University
Dr. Kari Austnes Norway Norwegian Institute for Water Research Head of Programme Centre ICP Waters, NFC ICP modelling and mapping
Mr Pete Ritchie Scotland Nourish Scotland Directror
Prof Tom Misselbrook United Kingdom Rothamsted Research Principal Research Scientist
Prof Robert Rees UK SRUC Research Scientist
Dr Deepak Samuel Vijay Kumar India National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management Scientist E
Dr. Muhammad Riaz Pakistan Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan Associate Professor in Environmental Sciences
Mr Ed Carnell United Kingdom Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Spatial Data Analyst
Prof. David Stevenson UK The University of Edinburgh Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling
Dr. Julia Drewer UK UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Senior Research Scientist
Dr Ponnambalam Rameshwaran UK UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Research Scientist
Prof. Maren Voss Germany Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Steering Group Member of the International Nitrogen Initiative, INI
Dr. Sofie Hellsten Sweden IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute Researcher
Dr Dinesh Kumar India ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India Principal Scientist
Dr Marsailidh Twigg UK UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Senior Research Scientist
Prof. Lidiya Moklyachuk Ukraine Institute of Soil Protection/Kyiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture Scientific Advisor / Professor
Ms Yuk Sim Tang UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Environmental Chemist
Dr. Jože Verbič Slovenia Agricultural Institute of Slovenia Senior Researcher
Dr. Salim Belyazid Physical Geography, Stockholm University Researcher, Lecturer
Prof Dave Reay United Kingdom University of Edinburgh Chair in Carbon Management
Cristina Leonardi Italia Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
dr Alessandra De Marco Italia ENEA researcher, co-chair Working Group on Effects
Dr. Natalia Kozlova Russia Institute for Engineering and Environmental Problems in Agricultural Production (IEEP – branch of FSAC VIM) Senior Researcher
Dr Upendra Singh USA International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) Director of Research
Dr Ulli Dragosits UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Researcher and group leader (Emission Sources, Sinks & Solutions)
prof dr Oene Oenema Netherlands China Agriculture University
Prof. Eric Davidson USA University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Past President, American Geophysical Union
Dr. Dipnarayan Ganguly India NCSCM Scientist
Dr. Maryana Draga Ukraine The Institute of Agroecology and Environmental Management of NAAS Senior Researcher, participant of the Towards INMS project
Mr Nicholas Corker UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Innovation Manager
Dr. Claudia Steadman United Kingdom University of Edinburgh Researcher
Ms Laura Valli Italy CRPA researcher
Professor Tim Jickells UK University of East Anglia
Prof. Dr. Sergei Lukin Russia All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Organic Fertilizers and Peat - branch of Verkhnevolzhsky FASC Director
Dr. Sylvain Pellerin France INRA senior scientist
Dr Rosemary Green UK London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Assistant Professor in Nutrition and Sustainability
Professor Boris Boincean Republic of Moldova Selectia Research Institute of Field Crops Head of the Department of Sustainable Farming Systems
Dr Masuda Akter Bangladesh Bangladesh Rice Research Institute Senior Scientific Officer
Dr Tariq Aziz Pakistan University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan Project Director/Principal Sub-Campus Depalpur, and Associate Professor
Prof. Icarus Allen United Kingdom Plymouth Marine Laboratory Chief Executive
Dr Rocio Alonso Spain CIEMAT- Research Center for Energy, Environment and Technology Ecophysiology scientist
Dr Shazla Mohamed Maldives The Maldives National University Assistant Professor/ Dean
Prof. Dr. Xuejun Liu China China Agricultural University Professor in environmental science
Dr Safi Zikrullah Afghanistan Kabul University Professor
Dr. Muhammad Watto Pakistan University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan Teaching and Research (Environmental Extension)
Prof. Peringe Grennfelt Sweden IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute
Prof Jo Smith Scotland University of Aberdeen Professor in Soil Organic Matter and Nutrient Dynamics