Global Soil Partnership

  • awareness raising
  • soil biodiversity
  • capacity development
  • soil information and data
  • soil erosion
  • soil fertility
  • soil governance
  • soil pollution
  • soil salinity
  • soil organic carbon

Soil governance

Welcome to soil governance

Policies and strategies

Soil governance concerns policies and strategies and the processes of decision-making by nation states and local governments on how the soil is utilized. 

What is the governance of soils about?

Governing the soil requires international and national collaboration between governments, local authorities, industries and citizens to ensure implementation of coherent policies that encourage practices and methodologies that regulate the usage of the soil resource to avoid degradation and conflict between users. 

The Global Soil Partnership (GSP) of the United Nations was created in 2012 to fill a global gap in soil governance. The main purpose is to reverse the growing trend of soil degradation through the promotion of sustainable soil management. The GSP has adopted three different but interrelated approaches to address the current global soil issues: i) policy advocacy ii) development of technical tools, and iii) programmatic actions focused on the implementation of sustainable soil management practices at field level.

GSP focused its activities on building a strong network with multi-stakeholder partners. The first step to achieve this was the establishment of eight regional soil partnerships (RSP) reaching Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, including the Eurasian subregional soil partnership, Near East and North Africa, North America, and Pacific. In total, the regional partnerships are composed by 194 countries also FAO member states. Almost all indicated a person to be appointed as focal point to represent the country to the GSP. The GSP is structured in five pillars of action: 1) soil management, 2) awareness raising, 3) research, 4) information and data, and 5) harmonization. Both, the global implementation plan and the regional implementations plans include activities organized under the umbrella of these five pillars. In addition, the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soil (ITPS) was established, consolidating 27 soil scientists that demonstrated their technical capacity to analyse global problems. By using their expertise, the first-ever report on the Status of the World’s Soil Resources was prepared in collaboration with a large number of experts with the the desire to include soil-related targets and indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Taking note of the lack in standard techinal procedures, the GSP dedicated more attention to the formulation of normative and techinical guidelines, such as as the revised World Soil Charter and the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM). Core efforts have been focusing on addressing the recognised global threats, on the implementation of the VGSSM as a way to halt soil degradation and the implementation of the International Code for the sustainable use and management of fertilzers. To ensure that policy makers and governments are fully aware of the soil and the ecosystem services, the GSP is also working on the preparation of a legal platform called SoiLEX to provide to the users a selection of the most relevant legal instruments for soil protection and conservation, clustered by the type of degradation process they address or by the tools they provide.

Latest stories

In action

Protocol for SSM

Towards a database of best SSM practices

The protocol provides a framework for practitioners, farm advisors and local government officials to assess if current management practices are sustainable and what potential actions can make conditions improves.

Fertilizer Code

Fertilizer Code

Sustainable use, management standards

The Code provides a locally-adaptable framework and voluntary set of practices to serve the different stakeholders that are directly or indirectly involved with fertilizers, setting out roles, responsibilities, and actions.


Voluntary guidelines

Sustainable soil management for all

The guidelines set out scientific principles and policy recommendations for the responsible governance of soils. The guidelines inform decision-making at higher levels and encourage SSM implementation at all levels.



SoiLEX webinar

Soil Governance and SoiLEX

SoiLEX facilitates the search for national soil legal instruments, the understanding of legal areas relevant to soil management and protection.


RECSOIL webinar

Recarbonization of global soils

RECSOIL is an initiative to move the SOC agenda into action using the best tools and technologies available while being aware of the associated uncertainties.

Soil biodiversity

Soil biodiversity webinar

A nature-based solution?

This webinar aims to discuss the global status, gaps and multiple benefits of soil biodiversity as a key contributor in sustaining life in this planet.


Fertilizer Code webinar

Implementation of global standards

The webinar discusses implementation modalities and allows different stakeholders to express their own views on the Code.