Dr. Mark A.Sutton, Scientist, Director of the European Centre of the International Nitrogen Initiative(INI) handing over The European Nitrogen Assessment to LVBC Team and on left side is Dr. Masso Cargele from INMS 2nd May 2019, Nairobi, Kenya
Scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, South and East Asia, Eastern Europe and North America spent one week (29th April 2019—4th May 2019) in Nairobi, Kenya exploring strategies to bridge science-policy gaps in managing nitrogen in their respective regions and countries.
The meeting jointly organized and convened by International Nitrogen Management System (INMS), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) of the East African Community (EAC) aimed at bringing together scientists from different parts of the globe to discuss how different actors can draw consensus and cooperation in sustainably managing nitrogen threats, said Fred Mngube, Natural Resources and Environment Officer for Lake Victoria Basin Commission.
Key areas cited as under nitrogen threats included, but not limited to: air, water and agriculture. In line with LVBC’s mandate of coordinating state and non-state actors towards sustainable development and poverty eradication, LVBC steers the Africa-wide nitrogen management approach.
Participants to the Nitrogen Management Conference visited Mbita, Homabay County around Lake Victoria to appraise and familiarize themselves with East African Demonstration Sites for Nitrogen Management.
Dr. Ally Said Matano, Executive Secretary LVBC Executive Secretary lauded the conference as an opportunity through which International Nitrogen Management systems (INMS) and initiatives will relate more with effects and benefits of nitrogen in Lake Victoria Basin. “Significantly, it is hoped that the findings from INMS will provide evidence based research to support programming, policy and project formulation,” Dr. Ally Said Matano.
At global level, scientists have committed to developing a globally agreeable research evidence—global nitrogen assessment—which would be used in advocating for change of policies and behaviors at global, regional and national and lower levels. Adoption of circular economies is one of the approaches scientists propose as one of the sustainable solutions for nitrogen threats.
Scientists acknowledged that there is scantiness of scientific evidence on nitrogen in Lake Victoria Basin region. Dr. Matano linked water pollution with the growth of algae blooms and invasive weeds (water hyacinths) in Lake Victoria—the second largest fresh water body in the world.
In Africa, LVBC in partnership with other actors—research institutions and scientists will spearhead the process leading to development of the regional nitrogen assessments. Such assessment will act as a research/evidence base for policies and practices geared towards sustainable adaptation and mitigation of nitrogen in East African Community Partner States.
In the Nairobi Nitrogen Management Conference, LVBC Executive Secretary indicated how nitrogen is both a threat and a resource in Lake Victoria Basin and further highlighted how nutrient loaded soils, industrial discharge, urban wastes and waste waters from homes could threaten fisheries resources, water quality and other biodiversity in Lake Victoria Basin.
Dr. Matano shared with participants LVBC’s contributions in managing Nitrogen in Lake Victoria Basin and East African Community Partner States through generation of scientific knowledge and coordination of programmes and projects.
Through LVBC and East African Community, there is evident cooperation between EAC Partner States and Development Partners such as World Bank, European Union, Africa Development Bank, Nordic Fund, USAID, KfW and among others.
Drawing global awareness, consensus and cooperation for sustained management of nitrogen featured prominently in the concluded global conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
Prof. N. Raghuram, Chairman, International Nitrogen Initiative (India) observed that the world is mainly focused on managing carbon dioxides, nitrogen oxides might be deadlier unless sustainable solutions are discussed and adopted.