United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Phos-Value - Sustainable Solutions for Nutrient Recycling

AquaInSilico Lda (Project Coordinator, private sector); Ocean Innovation Challenge (United Nations/ Multilateral body); Agência Nacional de Águas e Saneamento de Cabo Verde (Government); Águas de Portugal Internacional (Public sector) (

    Phos-Value is an innovative project promoted by AquaInSilico, a Portuguese startup. This two-year project proposal aims to capacitate Cape Verde to better deliver treated water to its population, reducing marine eutrophication and promoting a circular economy business model in the water sector that empowers local communities. Phos-Value’s sustainable solutions will be designed by AquaInSilico’s digital tools to allow wastewater treatment plants treat nutrient-rich effluents and recycle treated water and biofertilizers for agricultural applications. The financial support from Ocean Innovation Challenge is boosting the evaluation of the economic, environmental and social impact of Phos-Value’s sustainable solutions implemented at a municipal wastewater treatment plant that does not meet the effluent discharge limits in a coastal area affected by eutrophication and/or hypoxia. AquaInSilico’s digital tools incorporate sophisticated algorithms developed from more than 30 years of in-depth knowledge of biological and chemical processes in wastewater treatment and waste resource recycling. Partnerships were established with Águas de Portugal Group, a Portuguese water holding entity who have representations in developing countries, and NOVA School of Science and Technology to facilitate the implementation of this project in Cape Verde and promote a gender balance educational exchange programme for the development of human capital. A set of technical and social output indicators was designed to accelerate progress on SDG14.1 in Cape Verde and support outreach activities with target and affected groups. For this purpose, engagement with the National Agency for Water and Sanitation, a Cape Verde authority responsible for the regulation and integrated management of investments in the water and sanitation sector, Águas de Santiago and the Portuguese Water Partnership was initiated. The specific goals of this project are to: 1. Review current wastewater treatment practices and directives in Cape Verde. 2. Identify plants located in coastal areas impacted by eutrophication and/or hypoxia and select a plant that operates in uncontrolled conditions, i.e. does not meet the following effluent discharge limits: a. Biochemical oxygen demand: 25 mg O2.L-1; b. Chemical oxygen demand: 125 mg O2.L-1; c. Total suspended solids: 35 mg.L-1; d. Nutrients: 1 mg P.L-1 (total phosphorus) and 10 mg N.L-1 (total nitrogen). 3. Validate and implement affordable Phos-Value’s sustainable solutions, applicable within the boundaries of the existing infrastructure available, that comply with the following key performance indicators: a. Discharge of nutrients into aquatic environments to less than 1 mg P.L-1 and 10 mg N.L-1; b. Low plant OPEX costs with the disposal of waste sludge and consumption of chemicals and energy (to less than 20-50%); c. New source of income through the sale of biofertilizers (e.g €470-535/ton). 4. Create guidelines and best practices based on the operation of the target plant to capacitate Cape Verde to better recycle treated wastewater and biofertilizers to its population.


    AquaInSilico Lda (Project Coordinator, private sector); Ocean Innovation Challenge-United Nations Development Programme (United Nations/ Multilateral body); Agência Nacional de Águas e Saneamento de Cabo Verde (Government); Águas de Portugal Internacional (Public sector); Parceria Portuguesa para a Água (Civil society organization); Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Academic institution)

    Goal 2

    End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

    Goal 2


    By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round


    Prevalence of undernourishment


    Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population, based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)


    By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons


    Prevalence of stunting (height for age <-2 standard deviation from the median of the World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards) among children under 5 years of age


    Prevalence of malnutrition (weight for height >+2 or <-2 standard deviation from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards) among children under 5 years of age, by type (wasting and overweight)


    Prevalence of anaemia in women aged 15 to 49 years, by pregnancy status (percentage)


    By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

    Volume of production per labour unit by classes of farming/pastoral/forestry enterprise size


    Average income of small-scale food producers, by sex and indigenous status


    By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality


    Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture


    By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed


    Number of (a) plant and (b) animal genetic resources for food and agriculture secured in either medium- or long-term conservation facilities


    Proportion of local breeds classified as being at risk of extinction


    Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries

    The agriculture orientation index for government expenditures


    Total official flows (official development assistance plus other official flows) to the agriculture sector


    Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round


    Agricultural export subsidies


    Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility


    Indicator of food price anomalies

    Goal 6

    Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

    Goal 6


    By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all


    Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services


    By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations


    Proportion of population using (a) safely managed sanitation services and (b) a hand-washing facility with soap and water


    By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally


    Proportion of domestic and industrial wastewater flows safely treated


    Proportion of bodies of water with good ambient water quality


    By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

    Change in water-use efficiency over time


    Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources


    By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate


    Degree of integrated water resources management 


    Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation


    By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

    Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time


    By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

    Amount of water- and sanitation-related official development assistance that is part of a government-coordinated spending plan


    Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management


    Proportion of local administrative units with established and operational policies and procedures for participation of local communities in water and sanitation management

    Goal 12

    Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

    Goal 12


    Implement the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries


    Number of countries developing, adopting or implementing policy instruments aimed at supporting the shift to sustainable consumption and production


    By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources


    Material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP


    Domestic material consumption, domestic material consumption per capita, and domestic material consumption per GDP


    By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses


    (a) Food loss index and (b) food waste index


    By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment

    Number of parties to international multilateral environmental agreements on hazardous waste, and other chemicals that meet their commitments and obligations in transmitting information as required by each relevant agreement

    (a) Hazardous waste generated per capita; and (b) proportion of hazardous waste treated, by type of treatment


    By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse


    National recycling rate, tons of material recycled


    Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle

    Number of companies publishing sustainability reports


    Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities


    Number of countries implementing sustainable public procurement policies and action plans


    By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature


    Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment


    Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production


    Installed renewable energy-generating capacity in developing countries (in watts per capita)


    Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products


    Implementation of standard accounting tools to monitor the economic and environmental aspects of tourism sustainability


    Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities


    Amount of fossil-fuel subsidies (production and consumption) per unit of GDP

    Goal 14

    Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

    Goal 14


    By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution


    (a) Index of coastal eutrophication; and (b) plastic debris density


    By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans


    Number of countries using ecosystem-based approaches to managing marine areas


    Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels

    Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling stations


    By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics

    Proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels


    By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information

    Coverage of protected areas in relation to marine areas


    By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation


    Degree of implementation of international instruments aiming to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing


    By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism


    Sustainable fisheries as a proportion of GDP in small island developing States, least developed countries and all countries


    Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries

    Proportion of total research budget allocated to research in the field of marine technology


    Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets


    Degree of application of a legal/regulatory/policy/institutional framework which recognizes and protects access rights for small‐scale fisheries


    Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of "The future we want"


    Number of countries making progress in ratifying, accepting and implementing through legal, policy and institutional frameworks, ocean-related instruments that implement international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and their resources

    Name Description
    14.1 <p>By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution</p>

    Wastewater treatment plants in Cape Verde enabled to achieve structural transformations for sustainable development

    Sustainable operation of a target wastewater treatment plant in Cape Verde and scenarios for diagnosing process anomalies

    Circular economy business model for recycling treated wastewater and biofertilizers in the water sector of Cape Verde

    Capacitation exchange programme

    Financing (in USD)
    USD 250,000 contract with UNDP (Donors: SIDA and NORAD)
    Staff / Technical expertise
    Technical team from Águas de Santiago and Agência Nacional de Água e Saneamento de Cabo Verde
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    ocean commitment banner
    Action Network
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    07 March 2021 (start date)
    28 February 2023 (date of completion)
    AquaInSilico Lda (Project Coordinator, private sector); Ocean Innovation Challenge (United Nations/ Multilateral body); Agência Nacional de Águas e Saneamento de Cabo Verde (Government); Águas de Portugal Internacional (Public sector)
    Other beneficiaries

    Águas de Santiago (Public sector)

    Ocean Basins
    North Atlantic
    Communities of Ocean Action
    Marine pollution
    Cabo Verde
    Cabo Verde
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Contact Information