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Representatives from 15 countries of Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean analysed the key achievements of the Regional Soil Partnership

Representatives from 15 countries of the region analysed in Panama the key achievements of the Regional Soil Partnership and strengthened its engagement to implement their regional Plan


Panama City, 16th February 2018. -  Approximately 33% of global soils are degraded, according to the Global Soil Partnership, 14% of which are located in Latin America and the Caribbean. This issue affects around 32% of arable land in Central America, resulting in considerable losses in crop productivity.

 “Soils are under rising pressure due to multiple factors, causing a big impact on economic development, agriculture production, climate change adaptation and food security in a region highly vulnerable to climate effects and food insecurity”, explained Vera Boerger, Land and Water Officer of FAO for Mesoamerica.

With the aim to tackle these challenges, countries from Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, constituted the Regional Soil Partnership, which met in Panama to analyze main achievements and challenges to the recovery of soils and sustainable soil management, and to set priorities for the next biennium.

Among those priorities, the key outcomes include the promotion of the Regional Network of Soil Laboratories (LATSOLAN, by its acronym in Spanish) the Soil Information System in Latin America (SISLAC, by its acronym in Spanish), the capacity-building needs and the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Soil Management at the national level.

“Degradation is a serious problem which threatens soil resources and has political, economical and social effects, requiring a holistic approach to address it”, said Olegario Muñiz, President of the Regional Partnership for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, reelected during this meeting.

“All countries are concerned by food security, but this is impossible to reach if soils lose quality and if we do not maintain productivity. Through sustainable practices and management. That causes performance looses and does not ensure food security”, added Olegario Muñiz.

Joint actions for major impacts

The Regional Partnership has played a crucial role in raising awareness about soil management in these countries.  Ronald Vargas, FAO Land and Soil Officer, appreciated the progress achieved since the creation of the Partnership, including the implementation of the Regional Plan, which was co-developed by the countries.

The mentioned Plan seeks to promote protection, conservation and sustainable productivity; to enhance investment, technical cooperation, policies, awareness and training; to develop research and improve information and data collection; and the harmonization of methods, measures and indicators for sustainable management and protection of soil resources.

"The challenge is the implementation, to promote regional activities with major impacts, reverse the degradation of soils through sustainable management and set up partnerships," declared Ronald Vargas.

Global Soil Partnership

The Global Soil Partnership was established in December 2012 as a mechanism to develop a strong interactive partnership and enhance collaboration and synergy of efforts between all stakeholders. From land users through to policy makers, one of the key objectives of the GSP is to improve the governance and promote sustainable management of soils.  

Since its creation, the GSP has become an important partnership where global soil issues are discussed and addressed by multiple stakeholders. Key outputs demonstrate that the partnership was needed to fill an existing gap in the promotion of sustainable soil management. 

At the sub regional level, the Partnership was established in Havana (Cuba) in 2013 to promote the management, conservation and recovery of degraded soils; to raise awareness on the importance of this resource; to improve soil information and to establish a legal framework in order to enhance the sustainable management of soils in the region.

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