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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum


Online consultation for developing the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management

Dear all,

We are tasked with the unique opportunity to mould the future of soils sustainability.

The ‘Zero draft’ of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM), developed in order to promote sustainable soil management effectively in all regions, needs your contribution. Your input is necessary to allow the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils to better frame the multifaceted needs of all the stakeholders.

This online consultation invites you to address the following questions:

  • Does the zero draft sufficiently outline a way to achieve sustainable soil management worldwide?
  • Have all the key technical elements to achieve sustainable soil management been included in the guidelines?
  • Do the guidelines take into account the great variety of ecosystem services provided by soils?
  • Will the results of the guidelines, once implemented be sufficient enough to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
  • Do the guidelines identify activities that should be avoided to achieve multiple benefits through sustainable soil management?

The consultation will be facilitated by Dan Pennock, Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils, and Ronald Vargas, Global Soil Partnership Secretary.

Thank you very much for engaging in this critical process.

We look forward to receiving your valuable inputs to make these guidelines a reality.

Eduardo Mansur, Director Land and Water Division, FAO


To know more: background and process

The recently published Status of the World’s Soil Resources report identified ten major threats to our soils that need to be addressed if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, urgent efforts must be made to enable and engage with sustainable soil management at all levels. Achieving sustainable soil management will generate large benefits for all, therefore the availability of comprehensive guidelines on SSM is of major importance.

The revised World Soil Charter - developed under the Global Soil Partnership by the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils - already contains carefully drafted principles and guidelines for action to implement sound sustainable soil management. However, the World Soil Charter may be complemented by the preparation of more detailed technical guidelines for the sustainable management of soil resources.

In December 2015 - during the celebration of the International Year of Soils - the 153rd FAO Council supported the development of Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM) with the aim of facilitating the implementation of the World Soil Charter and promote effective and sustainable soil management in all regions.

The Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils was tasked to develop a zero-draft of the VGSSM. This draft will now be subject to a comprehensive e-consultation process with all interested partners and stakeholders. These contributions will directly feed the VGSSM  first draft prepared by the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils; the process will then continue and the ‘first draft’ will be submitted to an Open-Ended Working Group for its finalization and submission to the Global Soil Partnership Plenary Assembly, the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) and, if endorsed, to the FAO Council.


* Click on the name to read all comments posted by the member and contact him/her directly