Remarks by Director-General Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari at the Policy Maker Dialogue of the Pre COP26 “Nitrogen for Climate and Green Recovery” April 27-29, 2021, Colombo – Sri Lanka
Remarks by H.E. SACEP Director-General Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari at the Policy Maker Dialogue of the Pre COP26 “Nitrogen for Climate and Green Recovery” April 27-29, 2021, Colombo – Sri Lanka
Thank you very much for the opportunity to highlight the activities of the South Asia Cooperative Environment Program (SACEP) in relation to mitigating nitrogen pollution in the South Asia region.
- Just briefly, as you may know, SACEP is a regional intergovernmental organization with eight member-states. We were born out of the collective will of the governments of South Asia to address the interconnected environmental challenges facing our region.
- Of course, nitrogen pollution is a multifaceted environmental problem, which contributes to climate change, pollution, eutrophication, health, and food security.
- In line with our mandate and the decision of our Governing Council, we have partnered with the South Asia Nitrogen Hub, funded by the UK Research and Innovation, to develop the Regional Framework Policy on Nitrogen Management since 2019.
- The Regional Framework Policy to be developed and adopted will support cleaner and more profitable farming, as well as industrial recycling of nitrogen. And this should foster development of a cleaner circular economy for nitrogen.
- Moreover, the Framework Policy on Nitrogen Management for South Asia should facilitate national nitrogen regulation through intergovernmental coordination mechanisms, including SACEP.
- To arrive at the Regional Policy Framework, a roadmap was developed. The roadmap intends to facilitate development of the regional framework policy by SACEP member-states, in collaboration with the scientific institutions that partner with the South Asia Nitrogen Hub.
- I would like to point out the steps that need to be taken towards developing the South Asia Nitrogen Framework Policy:
The target to complete all these tasks was by 2023. But with the restrictions arising from the pandemic, it would be hard to meet the target as planned. There have been significant delays in the scientific work by the members of the South Asia Nitrogen Hub, which would inform the policy process.
And we know that travel restrictions and lockdowns rule out any in-person workshops and meetings to discuss any potential policy proposals. And financial restrictions arising from the economic impact of the pandemic limit our ability to accelerate the implementation of the roadmap.
But despite the pandemic restrictions, we at SCAEP and SANH have been able to make some progress. The first regional workshop for the Regional Policy Framework was conducted online in July 2020.
And based on the information provided by the member-countries and the research conducted by the South Asia Nitrogen Hub, a policy status paper, which evaluates the current situation, gaps and challenges has been drafted and shared with the member-countries on April 22, 2021 for comments.
Briefly, the policy status paper highlights key sources of nitrogen pollution, each of nitrogen species in different countries, and outlines the state of policies relating to nitrogen in the region. It also summarizes the gaps and barriers—like awareness, knowledge, technology, coordination, and finance—which countries face in the region to address the issue.
So, with that, may I remind all of us here to provide your comments, input, and any suggestions before the given deadline on May 25, 2021. These input and suggestions from the member-countries along with today’s discussion should better inform and enhance the next steps of arriving at the Framework Policy.
- Data call for analyzing the present environmental situation;
- Evaluation of major gaps, challenges, and the way forward;
- Building awareness through a series of workshops among member-states;
- Developing and finalizing draft framework policy on nitrogen for adoption by the SACEP Governing Council; and finally
- Development of national policies on the basis of the Nitrogen Policy Framework.