ABOUT THE SUMMIT
This Summit built on two important international events in previous years:
- 2010: Phosphorus and Global Food Security International Workshop in Linköping, Sweden, February 2010
- 2011: Sustainable Phosphorus Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, February 2011
With hopefully many more to come.
The 3rd Sustainable Phosphorus Summit was an initiative of the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative (GPRI). The Summit was organised and hosted by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology, Sydney - a founding member of the GPRI. The GPRI is a collaboration between independent research institutes in Europe, Australia and North America. The main objective of the GPRI is to facilitate quality interdisciplinary research on global phosphorus security for future food production. In addition to research, the GPRI also facilitates networking, dialogue and awareness raising among policy makers, industry, scientists and the community on the implications of global phosphorus scarcity and possible solutions.
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. However it is not only high quality phosphate rock that is scarce – throughout the food system there is a currently a scarcity of effective management, institutional arrangements and transparent data related to global phosphorus use.
While some innovative strategies already exist, such as increasing phosphorus use efficiency in the agricultural & fertilizer sector and recovering nutrients in the sanitation sector, these sustainability initiatives are far from mainstream practices. Developing and implementing practical solutions to meeting the world’s long-term future phosphorus demand will involve substantial technical and institutional challenges. Effective and sustainable solutions will require multi-sector participation, including new partnerships between 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.
With the 800% price spike of phosphate commodities in 2008 coupled with unprecedented interest in long-term phosphorus security, there is currently a strategic window of opportunity to develop a partnership for this summit to advance understanding of this global dilemma and promote sustainable solutions.