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The 8th International Nitrogen Initiative Conference

(INI2020) will be held in Berlin, 3 – 7 May 2020

Reactive nitrogen compounds are a key resource for food production in the light of a growing world population. At the same time, human activities through multiple processes result in losses of reactive nitrogen to all environmental media. The increased abundance of reactive nitrogen in the biosphere leads to numerous effects on the environment, human health, climate and biodiversity. Pressure on the planet’s resources and ecology is steadily increasing. The amount of reactive nitrogen compounds emitted into the environment is far too high and already exceeds the “safe operating space” for future life on our planet. Most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are closely interlinked with the nitrogen cycle. This demonstrates the crucial importance of solutions for this complex problem, which must fit the framework conditions in the respective region. Meeting these goals in parallel is dependent on spreading knowledge on effective nitrogen management, increasing the efficiency of nitrogen use in food production and decreasing unwanted nitrogen emissions to the biosphere. The recent resolution of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) on sustainable nitrogen management recognizes the multiple pollution threats resulting from anthropogenic reactive nitrogen, including air pollution, with adverse effects on the terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. The resolution supports the exploration of options through which the SDGs could be achieved, including the sharing of assessment methodologies and relevant best practices.

The 8th conference of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI 2020) will be the meeting point for scientists from all over the world who are dealing with reactive nitrogen compounds in agriculture, industry, traffic, soil, water and air. It will be the place to exchange results, ideas and visions to improve future holistic management of reactive nitrogen in order to further reduce hunger and poverty and at the same time avoid further hazards for human health, biodiversity and environmental media. It will be a perfect opportunity to engage with important policy makers and other relevant stakeholders. A joint conference declaration based on the latest scientific knowledge might stimulate further policy action towards effective integrated nitrogen management.

INI conferences are held every three years on different continents. After the first conference in the Netherlands in 1998, INI 2020 is the first time it will be coming back to Europe: To Germany, the place where about 100 years ago scientists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch invented industrial ammonia fixation, a major source of today’s reactive nitrogen circulating through the biosphere.

At INI 2020, scientists and delegates are invited to present findings on

  • Sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition systems, in relation to effective nitrogen management,
  • threats for health, environment and biodiversity and solutions to combat these nitrogen-driven effects,
  • Observations of global challenges, nitrogen fluxes and interactions between different drivers and pressure,
  • closing the nitrogen cycle through innovations for sustainable N management and
  • Integrated nitrogen science and policy approaches.

INI 2020 is hosted by Germany’ Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) with the support of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Co-organizer is the International Nitrogen Initiative.

Welcome to Berlin!

It is our great pleasure to host the 8th Global Nitrogen Conference of the International Nitrogen Initiative in 2020 (INI2020) in Berlin. As President of the German Environment Agency, I would like to invite you very warmly to join the conference under the overarching theme – “Nitrogen and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”.

The theme of the INI2020 highlights the relevance of a sustainable nitrogen management within the UN Agenda 2030 process which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the heart of. An urgent call for action.
While an increasing supply of nitrogen is a prerequisite for combating hunger in some parts of the world, we simultaneously have to reduce nitrogen emissions significantly to sustain diverse ecosystems on land and below water (in rivers, lakes and oceans), to improve and preserve human health and to tackle climate change. Recognizing these direct linkages, the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly agreed on a resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management just recently.

In order to further substantiate and advance these high level processes the global “reactive nitrogen – community” is asked to enhance the understanding of the impacts of reactive nitrogen, its interdependencies with other environmental phenomena and related tipping points. Additionally, it will be crucial to further develop integrated N-mitigation measurement portfolios and to cultivate scenarios leading to appropriate amounts of reactive nitrogen within the system. This will help to inform policies, to push innovative industries, refine education and will ultimately contribute to a transformation towards a more sustainable consumption and production.

The German Environment Agency is convinced that an integrated approach, connecting the different environmental endpoints and nitrogen emitting sectors, illustrates synergies and trade-offs and thereby is most beneficial for the solution of the various problems related to excess nitrogen emissions.

In this spirit, INI2020 is a unique opportunity to bring together scientific and political representatives of the large global “reactive nitrogen – community” in a country where Prof. Fritz Haber and Dr. Carl Bosch invented the industrial ammonia synthesis more than a century ago. I am confident that the conference will offer an excellent experience for all attendees and it will be an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences that will help find sustainable solutions for reactive nitrogen management on the international and national level.

It is now on you to complete the multifaceted conference outline with your research and visions in the form of lectures, poster presentations and contributions to discussions.
We look forward to learning from you at INI2020 in Berlin!

Maria Krautzberger – President of the German Environment Agency

INI meets Berlin

It is our great pleasure to invite you to attend the 8th Conference of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI2020) in Berlin from May 3-7, 2020. Since 1998, these international nitrogen conferences have been a unique platform to highlight nitrogen’s role as an essential resource and a major environmental threat. They provide a forum and catalyst for interdisciplinary nitrogen research, bringing together scientists from a range of disciplines – from atmospheric science to economics, plant biology to policy analysis. They have also been an important opportunity to engage with other important stakeholders, including civil society, national governments, international organizations and fertilizer companies among others.

Previous conference declarations as well as INI-sponsored Nitrogen assessment reports across national and regional scales have contributed significantly to increasing calls for international action. These efforts culminated in the adoption of an intergovernmental resolution on sustainable nitrogen management at the UN Environment Assembly in March
2019 – a watershed moment in global nitrogen governance. It is therefore very fitting that German Environment Agency is the main organizer of INI2020, with the support of the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. This is the first time a government body have taken an organizing role, and a reflection of nitrogen’s
increasing importance to policymakers.

The overarching theme of INI-2020 is the Sustainable Development Goals – the 17 UN-sanctioned targets for social, environmental and economic outcomes to be achieved by 2030 – with nitrogen central to 16 of them. How humanity manages its relationship with nitrogen over the coming decade will be critical in determining whether we meet these goals. Some, like ending hunger and poverty, will require better access to nitrogen. Others, like protecting life on land and water and climate action, will require reducing nitrogen pollution. All will benefit from better nitrogen management and more effective policies. And while we are confident INI2020 will mark an important step in advancing nitrogen science and policy further, its success will depend on you – your work, your ideas, and ultimately, your participation. So we hope you can join us in Berlin. Herzlich willkommen!

We look forward to seeing you in Berlin,

N. Raghuram (Chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative)
David R. Kanter (Vice-Chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative)

Maria Krautzberger

Maria Krautzberger

President of the German Environment Agency

Nandula Raghuram

Nandula Raghuram

Chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative

David Kanter

David Kanter

Vice-Chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative


umwelt bundesamt
federal ministry for the environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety


Organising Committee

Prof. Dr. Henning Friege
N³ Nachhaltigkeitsberatung Dr. Friege & Partner, Germany

Markus Geupel
Umweltbundesamt, Germany

Svenja Sophie Jürgens
Akademie Dr. Obladen GmbH, Germany

David Obladen
Akademie Dr. Obladen GmbH, Germany

Simone Richter
Umweltbundesamt, Germany

Lisa Marie Schlesinger
Umweltbundesamt, Germany

Dr. Stefanie Wolter
Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit, Germany

Local Advisory Committee

PD Dr. Barbara Amon
Leibniz Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie, Germany

Klaus Arzet
Bayerisches Umweltministerium, Germany

Dr. Benjamin Bodirsky
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

Prof. Dr. Martin Diekmann
Universität Bremen FB 02 Institut für Ökologie, Germany

Prof. Dr. Barbara Hoffmann
Universität Düsseldorf, Institut für Arbeits-, Sozial- und Umweltmedizin, Germany

Dr. Henning Meesenburg
Nordwestdeutsche Forstliche Versuchsanstalt, Germany

Dipl.-Ing. Bernhard Osterburg
Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Germany

Dr. Markus Salomon
Sachverständigenrat für Umweltfragen, Germany

Dr. Wolfgang Sprenger
Bayer. Landesamt für Umwelt, Germany

Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Taube
Univ. Kiel, Inst. F. Pflanzenbau u. Pflanzenzüchtung, Germany

Prof. Dr. Maren Voss
Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde, Germany

International Advisory Committee

Prof. Dr. Tapan Adhya
Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), India

PhD Vincent O. Aduramigba-Modupe
Institute of Agricultural Research & Training Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria

Christopher Cox
UNEP, Kenya

Prof. Dr. Jan Willem Erisman
Louis Bolk Institute, Netherlands

Dr. Cameron Gourley
Future Farmin Research Div., Dpt. Prim. Industries, Australia

Dr. Kevin Hicks
Stockholm Environment Institute, UK

Dr. Clare Howard
Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, UK

Prof. Dr. Xiaotang Ju
China Agricultural University, China

Prof. David Kanter

Dr. Adrian Leip
European Commission - Joint Research Centre, Italy

Dr. Cargele Masso
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria

Prof. Dr. Jean Ometto
Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, Brazil

Prof. Dr. Cheryl Palm
University of Florida - Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, USA

Prof. N. Raghuram
University School of Biotechnology, India

Prof. Mark Sutton
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology , UK

Prof. Dr. Wilfried Winiwarter
Institut für Applied System Analysis, Austria