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 Christine Braban UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UKRI Atmospheric Composition Change Group Leader
Prof. Xiaotang Ju China Chinese Agricultural University, Beijing Director, East Asia Centre of the International Nitrogen Initiative
Dr. Jianlin Shen China Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Dr. Héctor García-Gómez Spain CIEMAT Scientific researcher
MR. ALLAH NAWAZ Allah Nawaz Pakistan Institute of Soil & Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad Ph.D, Scholar
Dr Kateryna Utkina Ukraine V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University Deputy Dean on Research Work, School of Ecology
Dr. Asma Imran Pakistan National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad Principal Scientist
professor Lazizakhon Gafurova Uzbekistan National University of Uzbekistan Head of scientific center “AgroEcoBiotechnology”,с., of Department of Soil Science
Ms Aminath Shazly Republic of Maldives The Maldives National University of Maldives Lecturer
Prof Alexander Tudhope UK University of Edinburgh University Lead on Climate Responsibility and Sustainability
Dr Roshi Shrestha UK University of Aberdeen Researcher
Dr. Anne Rea USA US Environmental Protection Agency Senior Science Advisor
Dr. Juerg Heldstab Switzerland INFRAS Member of UNECE Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen
Prof. Dr. Zia-ul-Hassan Shah Pakistan Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam Director ORIC
Dr Andrew Hudson United States United Nations Development Programme Head, Water & Ocean Governance Programme
Dr. Oksana Butrym Ukraine State Ecological Academy of Postgraduate Education and Management Head of the Department of Green Economics
Dr. MADESWARAN Perumal INDIA Ministry of Earth Sciences, National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), Chennai Coordination a Multi- disciplinary and multi-institutional R&D programme on Seawater Quality Monitoring (SWQM)"in India. in
Dr Sumana Bhattacharya India IORA Ecological Solutions Advisor
Prof. Deli Chen Australia The University of Melbourne
Dr Ying Zhang China China Agricultural University
Prof Mateete Bekunda Uganda International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Scientist
Mrs Bo Van den Bril Flemish Environmental Agency
Dr. Qianqian Li China The key laboratory of biotechnology for medicinal plant of Jiangsu Normal University
Dr Ilaria D'Elia Italy ENEA Researcher
Dr/Prof Jagdish Ladha USA Plant Sciences, University of California Davis
Dr. Luis Lassaletta Spain Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Researcher
Dr. Felipe Pacheco Brazil National Institute for Space Research
Dr. Hayo van der Werf France INRA, French national Institute for Agricultural Research Researcher
Ms. Cristina Martin Hernadez UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Research Associate - Atmospheric Composition Change group
Dr. Marcela Miranda Brazil Earth System Science Center/INPE
Prof. Romulo Menezes Brasil Universidade Federal de Pernambuco Research Scientist
Prof. Ahmad Naeem Shahzad Pakistan Bahauddin Zakariya Universit multan
Dr Gabriela Nardotto Brazil Universidade de Brasilia Associate Professor
Mr. Muhammad Faisal Muzammil Pakistan Agritech Limited Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Shahzad Mehdi Syed Pakistan Fatima Group Process Engineering Manager (FFL)
Ms Gisleine Cunha-Zeri Brazil Center for Earth System Science (CCST), National Institute for Space Research (INPE) PhD Candidate
Prof. Mercedes Bustamante Brazil University of Brasília
Mr Sam Tomlinson UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Researcher
Dr. Nathália Nascimento Brazil University of Espirito Santo (UFES)
Dr. Luiz Felipe Campos de Rezende Brazil National Institute for Space Research (INPE) Researcher
Ms Jacqueline Mary Gerage Marques Brazil Brazilian National Institute for Space Research Researcher
Dr Laura Yahdjian Argentina University of Buenos Aires-Facultad de Agronomia IFEVA-CONICET
Prof. Nancy Dise United Kingdom Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) Biogeochemist
Brig Gen Sher Shah Malik Pakistan Fertilizer Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) Interface between fertilizer industry and government
Dr Toritseju Begho UK Scotland's Rural College Researcher
Dr. Everardo Sampaio Brazil Universidade Federal de Pernambuco Professor
Dr Cecillia Pérez Chile Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad Associated Researcher