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Global actions for a sustainable phosphorus future

Food security and healthy freshwater ecosystems are placed at jeopardy by poor phosphorus management. Scientists are calling for transformation across food, agriculture, waste and other sectors — mobilized through intergovernmental action, which has been missing thus far.

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Fig. 1: The global phosphorus system.


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This paper was produced as part of the following projects: the ‘Our Phosphorus Future’ project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC; award no. NE/P008798/1) with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) / Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the GEF/UNEP-CEH ‘Towards the International Nitrogen Management System’ project (GEF project ID 5400). Further support was provided by the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform; the UK Global Food Security Programme-supported ‘RePhoKUs’ project (award no. BB/R005842/1); and the NERC LTS-ODA ‘SUNRISE’ Programme.

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W.J.B. co-conceived the idea of the manuscript, led the writing of the paper, and collated and conducted data analysis. M.A.S., D.S.R., K.V.H., L.H. and C.K. contributed to writing the paper. B.M.S. co-conceived the idea of the manuscript, was the principal investigator of the project that supported this work and contributed to writing the paper.

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Correspondence to Will J. Brownlie.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Food thanks Martin Blackwell and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Brownlie, W.J., Sutton, M.A., Reay, D.S. et al. Global actions for a sustainable phosphorus future. Nat Food 2, 71–74 (2021).

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