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INSII - International Network of Soil Information Institutions: the 4th Working Session

The 4th working session of the International Network of Soil Information Institutions (INSII) was held at FAO HQ, Rome, Italy, on 6 - 8 November, 2018. 63 participants from over 35 countries met to discuss 15 agenda items among which the implementation and technical specifications of Global Soil Information System (GloSIS), SoilSTAT, CountrySIS Framework, and the forthcoming global soil maps/ data products (Soil Salinity, Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration Potential, Soil Erosion). As Mr. McKenzie (former INSII Chair) retired, all Chair duties were taken over pro tempore by the GSP Secretariat. The new INSII Chair will be appointed during the 7th GSP Plenary Assembly (5 – 7 June 2019).


The discussions underlined the INSII’s crucial role in the establishment of GloSIS. A series of documents were made available for revision and approval to INSII. The GloSIS design Document, SoilSTAT Concept Note, were talked over. The establishment of CountrySIS, was disussed in detail alongside with the results of the survey on the current status of national soil information systems. Two national and one regional example of recently established soil information systems (MASIS from Macedonia, Ukraine and SISLAC from Latin America) were presented, highlighting the challenges and envisioned potential of these data products.  In order to populate GloSIS, the production of several global maps addressing the major soil threats was requested to the GSP Secretariat by FAO member countries during the last GSP Plenary Assembly and the 26th FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG), among them the Global Soil Erosion map (GSERmap), the Global SOC Sequestration Potential Map (the GSOCseq map), the Global Soil Salinity Map (GSSmap) and related concept notes, guidelines and technical specifications. They will follow the same country-driven approach as the GSOCmap (which will be also updated in the next year) and will guide decision making at national and local levels. These maps will serve both scopes to further empower countries and support the creation of national SISs. A thorough discussion on how to improve the technical specifications behind these products as well as the complementary role of pillar 4 and 5 and SoilSTAT in the GloSIS architecture took centre stage during the workshop. The latest updates on the International Network of Black Soils (INBS), the Soil Organic Carbon Working Groups, the Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN), the Global Soil Pollution Assessment, and the progress on Pillar 2 (awareness raising) and Pillar 5 (data harmonization) were discussed with INSII participants who reiterated their support and strong commitment.

In conclusion, INSII members were urged to be proactive and to take advantage of the momentum that soils have gained on the global agenda, especially in regards to the SDGs and the fight against climate change. 

A Side Event ‘Soils4EU project’ took place on 7th November with the objective of exchanging knowledge and discussing on the current state of data and information availability, gaps and barriers to overcome in order to improve consistency and interoperability of EU-wide and national soil monitoring and information systems.

See the links below for meeting documents, presentations, photos, and additional information. Agenda | Report | Photogallery | Presentations | Event