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Global Symposium on Soil Erosion

About the symposium

The Global Symposium on Soil Erosion (GSER19) represented a critical step towards the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM) in terms of minimizing the risk of soil erosion. GSER 19 identified effective and ineffective Sustainable Soil Management (SSM) practices, techniques, instruments and mechanisms which shed light on where the gaps and challenges are in terms of science, technology and legislation. The fundamental link between soil erosion control and the achievement of the SDGs was highlighted and discussed as well as the economics of soil erosion. 

Specifically, the objectives of this symposium were to:

  1. Identify options to consolidate, generate and harmonize soil erosion data  and assessment tools for promoting their use in decision making at all levels;
  2. Review and discuss existing national and international policies, agreements and frameworks addressing soil erosion prevention, management and remediation in order to assess their effectiveness and propose ways to enhance them;
  3. Critically reflect on the economics of soil erosion paying attention to which SSM practices are cost-effective, which measures that are not, and why; investigating options for measures that do not give a short/medium term financial benefit; and
  4. Advocate for an agenda for action to prevent, mitigate and monitor soil erosion.

A call for extended abstract was launched at the end of January 2019 and over 170 abstracts were received and evaluated by the GSER Organizing committee. Read the Proceedings of the GSER 19.

We’re living in an era where there is lots of knowledge available to help tackle soil erosion. This symposium can play a vital role in sharing that knowledge, informing policy, and identifying suitable economic approaches that can leverage that knowledge into action.

Lindsay C. Stringer,
Professor of Environment and Development at the Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK

Soil erosion affects the whole world. As soil scientists, we are aware of many of the technical solutions but as a society we fail to ensure these are implemented. This symposium will provide a space to discuss the social, political and economic barriers we face and will set the stage for concrete action.

Rosa Poch,
Chair of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS)

One third of global soils are degraded, with their potential limited by many factors including soil erosion, one of the most significant threats to soil functions. Sustainable soil management is an essential part of the Zero Hunger equation.

José Graziano da Silva,
Director-General, FAO

Major intervention and innovation advances needed to stop soil erosion and save our future require collaboration between the world’s best soil erosion professionals. This symposium offers a critical opportunity to advance soil conservation innovation through synergistic exchange and sharing of current science.

Richard Cruse – Keynote speaker GSER19,
Professor & Director, Iowa Water Center, USA

To lose soil is to lose food and life. An integrated approach that brings together science and policy is key to Sustainable Soil Management and soil erosion control. We need a global platform to save this finite natural resource from soil erosion.

Jae E. Yang – Keynote speaker GSER19,
Professor & Research Director, Kangwon National University, Republic of Korea

Taking steps to preserve the quality and quantity of global soil resources should require no justification. There is an urgent need to address excessive soil erosion in the Anthropocene. This symposium will contribute by highlighting the status of soil erosion, its impacts and efficient strategies for soil conservation.

Jean Poesen, Keynote speaker GSER19,
Department of earth and environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium