UNEP’s Colombo Declaration to tackle global nitrogen challenges

On October 24, 2019, the member states of United Nations endorsed a proposed road map for action on nitrogen challenges called Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Nitrogen Management. It was organized by Sri Lanka with the support of UN and its member nations. A two-day event was conducted to frame the declaration


  • The aim of the Declaration is to halve nitrogen waste by 2030
  • Environment ministers and officials from more than 30 countries attended the event
  • The event endorsed UN plans for a campaign called “Nitrogen for Life”. The campaign aims at sustainable management of Nitrogen. It is based on the Sustainable Management Resolution that was adopted during the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly that was held in Nairobi, Kenya in March 2019
  • The Declaration was developed with technical support from International Nitrogen Management System (INMS). INMS is a joint activity of UNEP and Internationals Nitrogen Initiative


There is need to reduce reactive nitrogen. This will help to reduce Eutrophic zones that are affecting fishing and tourism.

Reactive Nitrogen is the scientific term used for nitrogen compounds like nitrogen oxides, nitrous oxide, ammonia, etc. Most of them are result of intensive farming and misuse of fertilizers. These compounds enter Nitrogen Cycle. Excess reactive nitrogen affects environment very badly. They make the underground water unfit for drinking. They leach out the soil and pollute aquatic ecosystems. As they reach the aquatic eco systems they promote growth of algae extensively leading to eutrophication.




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