About the Network
Why a Network about phosphorus?
Global phosphorus scarcity is likely to threaten the world’s ability to produce food in the future if concerted efforts are not soon taken by policy-makers, scientists, industry and the community. Phosphorus is an essential element for all life, and a limiting nutrient in food production. The main source of phosphorus for fertilizer production today is phosphate rock – a non-renewable resource that took 10-15 million years to form. We are fast depleting the world’s remaining high quality and easily accessible phosphate rock reserves. A peak in global production of phosphate rock is expected to occur in the coming decades. While the exact timeline of peak phosphorus is in dispute, it is widely acknowledged that the quality of remaining phosphate rock reserves are decreasing, energy costs are increasing and cheap fertilizers will be a thing of the past.
Further, phosphorus discharged because of inadequate sewage treatment and lost via agricultural erosion and runoff is contributing to a global epidemic of eutrophication in freshwater, estuarine and near shore ocean environments, and contributing to the loss of potable water resources, aquatic biodiversity and formation of large ocean “dead zones”. While some innovative strategies exist, particularly in the sanitation sector (e.g. recovering nutrients) and the agricultural sector (e.g. increasing phosphorus use efficiency), these are far from mainstream practices. Meeting the increasing global demand for phosphorus in the long-term will require a substantial reduction in the demand for phosphorus (through increasingly efficient use of phosphorus in the entire food production & consumption chain) and a high recovery rate of all sources of phosphorus – including excreta, manure, food waste, ash and other wastewater fractions
Developing and implementing practical solutions to this global dilemma will involve substantial technical and institutional challenges. For example, there are currently no international institutional arrangements or governance structures that ensure short- and long-term phosphorus availability for food production. Phosphorus scarcity has no institutional home. This means a suite of effective and sustainable solutions will require multi-sector participation, including government, industry, research representatives from the fertilizer industry, agriculture and food processing industry, nutrition & health, sanitation sector, solid waste management industry, environmental protection agencies and sustainable systems researchers and practitioners.
Read more about phosphorus here.
What is the purpose of the Global Phosphorus Network?
There is currently no public platform for dialogue related to important issues of phosphorus sustainability and global food security. The purpose of the Global Phosphorus Network (GPN) is therefore to:
- Foster public debate on sustainable phosphorus use for global food security
- Improve scientific understanding of the key issues
- Facilitate networking and new partnerships between researchers, policy-makers and industry around the world
- Increase global awareness of the phosphorus scarcity challenge and of sustainable solutions such as phosphorus reuse and efficiency
- Catalyse action towards sustainable phosphorus use
- Mobilize a community concerned by phosphorus futures to respond to calls from governments, peak industry and research bodies
Who is behind the Global Phosphorus Network?
The GPN is an initiative of the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative - a group of 5 independent research institutes in Australia, Sweden, The Netherlands and Canada. The development, management, financing and administration of the GPN is based on a collaborative partnership between academic researchers, industry and the community:
Project Managers & Secretariat:
- Dr Dana Cordell & Professor Stuart White, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney
- Dr Tina Schmid Neset, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Linköping University
- Global Phosphate Forum
- Swedish Research Council FORMAS
- University of Birmingham(in-kind support)
Web content coordinators:
- Dr Dana Cordell, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney
- James Cooper, University of Birmingham
- Anna Bateman, University of Birmingham
- John Revington, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney
- Kimo van Dijk, Wageningen UR
- Geoffrey Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is the Global Phosphorus Network for?
The Network is for anyone with expertise or interest in sustainable phosphorus use, including:
- NGOs, community organisations
What issues or topics does it cover?
The GPN covers any issue of global relevance related to sustainable phosphorus use, food security and environmental protection. Topics include:
- Global phosphate reserves
- Phosphorus & food security
- Phosphorus use efficiency
- Phosphorus recovery & reuse
- Phosphorus pollution & waste
- Phosphorus – general sustainability
How does the Network work?
The website acts as the Network portal. Through the website, you can access latest news and events, publications and people, and engage in dialogue and debate with other members across the globe.
- Read recent media news, radio, popular science stories on phosphorus, including technical breakthroughs, new policies, world events that affect phosphorus
- Find out about the latest phosphorus-related conference/seminar announcements, calls for papers, tenders etc
- Debate and discuss the key current issues – e.g. when will phosphorus peak? What are the most sustainable ways of recovering P?
- Read and/or contribute to the threaded conversations at a time that suits you
- ‘Ask A Quick Question’ or respond to other members' quick questions
- One-stop-shop for all reports, articles, links, other resources to sustainable phosphorus use, phosphorus recovery & reuse, efficiency, food security etc.
- Find other sustainable phosphorus researchers, companies, organisations and people from around the world. When you become a member, you can also choose to have your name/organisation listed in the Member Directory.
Why should I join?
By becoming a member, you will be able to join the growing global network of scientists, policy-makers, practitioners and individuals with an interest in sustainable use of phosphorus to ensure the world’s food needs are met in the long-term future.
Membership allows you to not only contribute to virtual discussions and keep up-to-date with the latest news and events, but also enables you to have your name, affiliation and email address visible in the global phosphorus directory.
Membership is free and implies no financial commitment. You can remove your name and details from the Directory at any time.
How can I become a member and contribute?
Joining the Network is free of charge and quick. Simply enter your details, read the brief Terms of Membership and click accept. We encourage you to suggest news items, events, discussion topics and resources using the Feedback page.