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Have your say! New online consultation for developing the Code of Conduct for the Management of Fertilizers

Available until 28 February 2018

05/01/2018

The Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) of the Global Soil Partnership is tasked with a unique opportunity to shape the future of fertilizer use globally and are seeking inputs on the development of the Code of Conduct for the Management of Fertilizers (CoCoFe). Therefore, your participation is highly appreciated in order to better frame the multifaceted needs of the stakeholders who would use the CoCoFe or be impacted by its application.

The management of fertilizers is central to agriculture and involves decisions to ensure the well-timed supply of nutrients to crops. Up to nowadays the use of fertilizers has been a crucial component of agricultural practices contributing to substantial crop increases; however, when used in excess, insufficient or polluting, has also resulted in negative environmental externalities and impact on human health. There is growing consensus that agricultural strategies which encourages and promotes a more efficient use of plant nutrient applications would significantly contribute to more sustainable agricultural systems and the production of safe and nutritious food. The Status of the World’s Soil Resources (SWSR)report identifies ten major threats to our soils that need to be addressed if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Among them, soil pollution through agricultural inputs such as fertilizers represents a major threat to soils, as well as that of nutrient imbalances. Subsequently these issues were addressed in the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM). Especially chapter 3.3 - Foster nutrient balances and cycles and Chapter 3.5 - Prevent and minimize soil contamination of the VGSSM provide initial guidance on promoting sustainable nutrient use in relation to soils, agriculture and the environment. 

The ITPS was tasked to develop the CoCoFe and this online consultation soliciting input on what should be included in a CoCoFe is one of the early steps in the process. This input will be utilized to develop a zero-order draft that will be reviewed by ITPS, followed by further review of a first draft by a panel of experts representing all major partners and stakeholders. The process will then continue with the finalization of the CoCoFe and submission to the Global Soil Partnership Plenary Assembly, the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) and, if endorsed, to the FAO Council.

The creation of the Code of Conduct for the Management of Fertilizers (CoCoFe) is being mainly proposed to promote the responsible and judicious use of fertilizers in the interest of maintaining or increasing global food production; maximizing the efficient use of plant nutrients to enhance sustainable agriculture; minimizing the environmental impacts from the use of fertilizers including pollution by loss of nutrients via runoff, leaching, greenhouse gas emissions and other mechanisms; minimizing environmental and human health impacts from pollutants such as heavy metals in fertilizers; maintaining and increasing food safety.  The CoCoFe aims to assist member countries in design policies and regulatory frameworks for the sustainable use of fertilizers, which would boost practices that maximize the benefits and minimize the side effects of fertilizer use in agriculture. It should help policy makers to outline the roles and responsibilities of the multiple stakeholders involved in various aspects of fertilizer management including governments, industry, universities, NGOs, traders, farmers organizations, etc.

To take part, visit the FSN Forum's website where you can post your comments following registration. In alternative, you can send us your comments to fsn-moderator@fao.org.

Available until 28 January 2018! 

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