Skip to main content
Ficosterra capstone event

The widespread use of industrial fertilizers in agriculture has created a global pollution challenge. Synthetic fertilizers are quite high in nutrient content which is used to stimulate the rapid growth of plants. However, its use leads to the degradation of soil structure that results in nutrient lost from soils through leaching and gas emission. Excess nutrients that run off from land escape to the waterways and end up into the ocean. 

While a healthy ocean sustains the delicate balance among a diverse marine life, provides valuable ecosystem services and regulates climate and reduces climate change impacts, excess nutrient loads lead to an overgrowth of algae that sinks and decomposes in the water. This consumes and depletes the water's natural supply of oxygen, creating havoc and consequently causing ‘dead zones’ that suffocate aquatic and marine life.  

Seaweed offers a wide range of ecological as well as economic benefits. Aside from providing home and breeding grounds for countless organisms, seaweed is also very efficient at sequestering carbon dioxide and using it to grow. In huge amounts, seaweed is known to help combat the local impacts of ocean acidification. Some cultures include seaweed in their regular diet, and it is even regarded as a super food due to its high calcium and iodine content. It is also used as emulsifier and binding agent for consumer goods such as toothpastes, shampoos, cosmetics, dairy products, and even pharmaceuticals. Yet, seaweed’s role as a nature-based solution for conventional agriculture is underutilized. 

The OIC support enabled Ficosterra to conduct field and laboratory tests in Mexico and Morocco to scientifically consolidate and confirm the viability of seaweed in producing fertilizers that provide Three Wins for people and the planet: 

  • Nature win by reducing carbon footprint and nutrient runoff; 

  • Farmers win by increasing crop yield; and 

  • Consumers win by accessing healthier food for themselves and the planet. 

Now on their final two weeks in the OIC programme, Ficosterra is proud to share through this capstone event the outcomes of their OIC journey, lessons learned, and success stories which are ready to be replicated by farming and coastal communities looking to create sustainable livelihoods while saving the ocean.

The event included interpretation in Spanish and French.


16:30 – 16:35
Istanbul Time

5 mins 

Opening Remarks 

Dr. Mary Matthews, UNDP OIC Manager, Ocean Advisor, and Acting Head of the Water and Ocean Governance Programme 


16:36 – 16:43 

7 mins 

Global Nutrient Management Challenge: Keeping nutrients on the field 

How nutrient management in agriculture is steering the ocean’s health  

Prof. Mark Sutton, Environmental physicist based at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Edinburgh, lead of the UNEP/GEF International Nitrogen Management System, and former chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) 


16:44 – 17:04 

20 mins 

Nutrialgae: A Triple Win Ocean Solution to Nutrient Pollution  

Presentation of Ficosterra’s outputs and outcomes, and development plan 

Mr. Luis Lombana, CEO of Ficosterra, Spain 

Dr. Diana Cuesta, Project coordinator and Marine Biologist, Ficosterra, Spain 


17:05 – 17:15 

10 mins 




Cultivating Nutrialgae: From OIC incubation to global solution  

Panel discussion 

Moderator: Sabine Dolan, UNDP OIC Fundraising Expert  

Mr. Luis Lombana, CEO, Ficosterra 

Dr. Andrew Hudson, Former Head of UNDP Water and Ocean Governance Programme 


17:16 – 17:26 

10 mins 

Open mic and reactions 

An opportunity for the participants to ask questions and provide feedback. 


17:27 – 17:30 

3 mins 

Concluding Remarks  


Dr. Mary Matthews, UNDP OIC Manager, Ocean Advisor, and Acting Head of the Water and Ocean Governance Programme 



Register now