This page provides further information on the TFRN-11 meetings in May which were held partly as a joint OECD/TFRN workshop:

Joint OECD/TFRN Workshop: The Nitrogen cascade and policy - towards integrated solutions

Date of Workshop

The workshop was held on the 9th-10th of May 2016, with TFRN panel meetings held on 11th May (also at the OECD). 


The three days of workshops were held at the OECD headquarters:

Questions the workshop addressed:

  • What are the scale and nature of the reactive nitrogen problem?
  • Why a joined up approach to the nitrogen cascade could help?
  • Which parts of the nitrogen cascade, or points of intervention, should we prioritise?
  • What scale is best to address nitrogen challenges?

A more detailed description of the aims of the workshop, can be found at the bottom of the page. 


Presentations from the workshop can be downloaded below, in pdf format. Some of the presentations are available for participants only, these are marked with '*' and will be shared with the participants by e-mail.

Monday 9 May

Session 1: Why "joined up" approaches to tackle N pollution?

There is growing awareness that more integrated approaches to nitrogen management are needed to respond to nitrogen challenges. This session will outline the rationale for developing such “joined up” approaches.

Session 2: Case studies

Session 3: Toward best management practices

Session 3a. Agriculture

Session 3b. Optimizing food choices

Session 4: Toward an International Nitrogen Management System (INMS)

  • Chair: Claudia Marques-dos-Santos Cordovil (TFRN)
  • Speakers:
    • Mark Sutton (INMS)
    • Clare Howard (INMS)
    • UNEP (tbc)

Tuesday 10 May

Session 3: Toward best management practices (continued)

Session 3c. Fossil fuel combustion

  • Chair: Tim Gould (IEA)
  • Speakers:
    • Henrik Scharin and Ficre Zehaie (Sweden)
    • Jean-Guy Bartaire (TFTEI) (tbc)

Session 3d. Water

Session 5: Nitrogen Budgeting

Session 6: Country experiences in tackling nitrogen pollution

Closing panel: How to implement joined-up approaches?

  • Chair: Simon Buckle (OECD)
  • Speakers:
    • Mark Sutton (TFRN)
    • Céo Gaudet (Canada)
    • Roald Wolters (EC)
    • Lewis Linker (United States)

Potential Aim and concept of the workshop

Around 80% of anthropogenic reactive nitrogen is lost to the environment, representing a waste of an expensive resource, while contributing to threats to both ecosystems and human health. The key environmental and health impacts associated with changes in the nitrogen cycle include (i) climate change and stratospheric ozone layer depletion, (ii) air pollution and ground-level ozone, (iii) soil quality, (iv) water pollution and ocean dead zones, (v) biodiversity loss.

The OECD Working Party on Water, Biodiversity and Ecosystems (WPWBE) and the UNECE Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen (TFRN) have identified a common goal to address the benefits of optimizing practices to improve nitrogen management and reduce these adverse effects. In particular joined-up approaches across the nitrogen cycle may enhance cost-effectiveness and offer substantial co-benefits that can help overcome the barriers to meeting different environmental, food and energy goals.

This workshop will explore how thinking across the ‘nitrogen cascade’ may offer benefits for integrated nitrogen management. Specifically, it will consider the cascading costs of nitrogen cycling (in different forms and with different impacts) between air, soil and water. The workshop will explore the benefits of intervention at different points in the nitrogen cascade (e.g. air, soil, water) and at different scale(s) (e.g. country, region, airshed, watershed). The workshop’s aim is not to look at instruments to achieve environmental (air, soil, water) policy objectives in isolation, but to develop a holistic view to inform and help to prioritise policy action (e.g. how to select intervention points) based on how the nitrogen cycle works.

This workshop will discuss current thinking on how to address the nitrogen pathways within and between air, soil and water. For example, what are the implications of the nitrogen cascade for developing practices that minimise pollution swapping and maximise co-benefits? Is nitrogen ‘pollution swapping’ still an issue when considering a framing toward improving nitrogen use efficiency? What implications does the nitrogen cascade have for the development of effective policy instruments? Could strategies that seek win-win situations across the nitrogen cycle help overcome barriers-to-change?