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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.

What is next?

The Symposium output will be an outcome document highlighting the scientific evidence on the status of soil erosion, its impacts and an agenda for action in the framework of achieving the SDGs. The document will also provide recommendations for developing sound environmental policies and programmes to encourage the use of sustainable soil erosion control practices.

Stopping soil erosion does not end here, GSER 19 marks the beginning of a concrete plan of action to address this global threat.

Three key action areas have been identified going forward:

  1. A global soil erosion map will be developed following a country-driven approach;
  2. A political plan of action to be presented at UNCCD COP14 in September 2019;
  3. A global study on the costs and benefits of soil erosion and soil erosion control.