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
Prof Pete Smith UK University of Aberdeen Professor of Soils & Global Change, FRS, FRSE
Ms. Yixin Guo China Princeton University PhD student working on reducing Nr pollution in China
Dr. Andrea Móring United Kingdom University of Edinburgh
Dr Hans J.M. van Grinsven Netherlands Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency senior (nitrogen) scientist and project leader
Professor Miguel Quemada Spain Universidad Politecnica de Madrid Research Project leader
Dr. Roy Wichink Kruit the Netherlands RIVM
Prof Maria Amélia Martins-Loução Portugal SPECO - Portuguese Society of Ecology President
Prof. Hinde CHERKAOUI DEKKAKI Morocco Faculty of Science and Technology of Al Hoceima University professor hydrogeologist - Environmentalist head of the department of earth sciences and environment
Dr. Dominique Serça France Aerologie Laboratory, University of Toulouse Laboratory deputy director
Prof. Hideaki Shibata Japan Hokkaido University Co-Chair of INMS Activity 1.2; Chair of International Long-Term Ecological Research Network (ILTER)
Mr. Arjan Rajasuriya Sri Lanka International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Coordinator, Coastal & Marine Programme, IUCN Sri Lanka Country Office
Prof. Xiaoyuan Yan China Chinese Academy of Sciences Research scientist
Prof. Xu Zhao Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Dr Sitapathi Rao Voleti India Indian Institute of Rice Research, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad Director and Principal Scientist
Dr. Raza Sajjad Pakistan Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University Postdoc Fellow
Dr. Ghulam Murtaza Jamro Pakistan Department of Soil Science, Sindh Agriculture University,Tandojam Associate Professor/ General Secretary, Soil Science Society of Pakistan
Prof. Raghuram Nandula India Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University Chair, International Nitrogen Initiative
Dr. Raza Sajjad Pakistan Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University Postdoc Fellow
Mr. Muhammad Asif Ali Pakistan Engro Fertilisers Ltd. Head of Research and Development, Specialty Fertilisers Business
Dr Hafeez ur Rehman Pakistan University of Agriculture, Faisalabad Lecturer/N scientist
Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Bilal Pakistan Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Okara
Dr Renu Singh India Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India Senior Scientist
mr Sofiia Zherebchuk Украина Ministry education and science of Ukraine
Dr. Robin R.S. India NCSCM, Chennai Scientist
Prof. Maria Gabriela Soto Munoz Costa Rica University of Costa Rica Agroecology Professor
Professor Liz Grant UK University of Edinburgh Assistant Principal
Dr David Leclere Austria IIASA Researcher
Prof. David Hooper USA Western Washington University Co-lead, Nooksack-Fraser Transboundary Nitrogen Project
Dr Muhammad Nadeem Ashraf China Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Institute of Agricultrual Resources and Regional Planning PhD Research Fellow
Dr. Hussain Shahid Pakistan Bahauddin Zakariya University Assistant Professor
Dr. Abas Basir Afghanistan SACEP Director General
Dr. Shu Kee Lam Australia The University of Melbourne Lecturer and Researcher
Prof Khem Raj Dahal Nepal Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS), Tribhuvan University Coordinator, PG (Agronomy) and IAAS/IRRI Reserach Team
Professor Keshav Raj Adhikari Nepal Tribhuvan University Dean of Institute of agriculture & Animal Sc under TU
Mr. Sayed Mahdi Sadat Afghanistan National Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Monitoring Expert
Dr. Renu Pandey India Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi Plant Nutrition Physiologist, Research & Teaching
Prof. Mohammad Saiful Alam Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University
Mr. Rajesh Paudel npl Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science/Tribhuvan University Director of Extension
Dr. Aishath Naila Maldives The Maldives National University Assitant Professor
Dr. Juergen Burkhardt Germany University of Bonn Senior scientist
Mr Henk Westhoek Netherlands Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency Senior scientist
Dr Christopher Ellis United Kingdom Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Senior Scientist; Section Leader for Cryptogamic Botany
Mr. Md. Ashraful Alam Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University PhD student, Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Graduate Studies
Ms. Sonja Vidic Croatia Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Croatia Researcher, Head of Air Quality Modelling and Research Department
Dr. Dali Rani Nayak United Kingdom University of Aberdeen
Dr. Aysha Kiran Pakistan University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan Assistant Professor
Dr Kishor Dahal Nepal Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science Assistant dean Academics
Dr. Christos Noulas Greece Hellenic Agricultural Organization "DEMETER" - Institute of Industrial & Forage Crops Agronomist - Assistant Researcher/Nitrogen Expert
Prof. Hanqin Tian USA International Center for Climate and Global Change Research Director
Dr Ignacio González-Fernández Spain CIEMAT