UNEP EVENT: Demonstrating the Need for Sustainable Phosphorus Management in Lakes: Global Case Studies, 9 September 2020

Demonstrating the Need for Sustainable Phosphorus Management in Lakes: Global Case Studies

It was not until the 19th century that Liebig identified that nutrients in manure (i.e. phosphorus and nitrogen), were responsible for boosting crop growth. Then in the 1850s, phosphate rock, a seemingly unlimited source of phosphorus, was discovered. Since that time, with a steep curve post World War II, phosphate rock has been the main source of phosphorus used by society, predominantly to provide fertilizers. Anthropogenic changes to global phosphorus cycling, largely due to mining phosphate rock for use as fertilizer, have tripled the rate of phosphorus movement from mineral deposits to the ocean. The resulting increased phosphorus concentrations in rivers, lakes, and coastal waters are causing widespread eutrophication, characterized by toxic algal blooms, oxygen "dead zones", fish kills, and the contamination of drinking water supplies.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) in collaboration with its partners, is organizing this webinar to provide an opportunity to discuss the key issues, responses and collaboration on sustainable phosphorus management, while presenting important case studies from the lake regions across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The webinar serves as a prelude to the upcoming report: “Our Phosphorus Future”, which aims to provide scientific consensus from the global scientific phosphorus community on how to best deliver phosphorus security. Here we demonstrate the environmental and socio-economic gains that stand to be won through sustainable phosphorus management case studies focused on relieving the burden of phosphorus pollution on lakes and their catchments. The event will take place on Wednesday, 9 September 2020; 1600-1800 hours; East African time (UTC+3).