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Latest updates from the Global Soil Partnership | Newsletter #17

Sixth Session of the GSP Plenary Assembly


The 6th GSP Plenary Assembly (PA) will take place at FAO HQ in Rome from 11 to 13 June 2018. The GSP PA constitutes the decision making body of the GSP and the main forum where all GSP partners gather to discuss and make decisions about the global soil agenda. Representatives from member countries of FAO and partners will review the progress made during the last year and will discuss the work plan for 2018–2019, including:

• Progress under the GSP Pillars including the development/execution of implementation plans; 
•  Progress report on Regional Soil Partnerships; 
• Main accomplishments of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) in the biennium 2017 – 2018 and the appointment of the new ITPS panel for 2018 – 2020;
•  Progress report on the financial status of GSP, including the Healthy Soils Facility; 
•   GSP-prompted activities, such as the organization of the past symposiums on Soil Organic Carbon and Soil Pollution, the state-of-the-work and the proposal for the next symposiums;
•   The communication campaign for World Soil Day 2017 – 2018 and the Glinka World Soil Prize award. 

The side event “Afrisoils: boosting soil productivity for a food secured Africa” will be held during the PA.

The NENA Soil Partnership and the African Soil Partnership will meet in their plenary constituencies on 13 June 2018.

Register to the 6th Plenary Assembly meeting by 25 May 2018 here

Access the documentsEnglish | French | Spanish | Russian | Arabic | Chinese


SOC mapping solution from the ground

The 2nd edition of the Soil Organic Carbon Mapping cookbook has been updated with knowledge from practical experiences gained during the implementation process of the Global Soil Organic carbon map (GSOC map) V1.0 throughout 2017. The document follows the typical digital soil mapping work-flow and provides users a complete soil property mapping solution.

In addition, the Technical report of the GSOCmap presents the technical details of the first ever country driven endeavour to map soil organic carbon (SOC) globally. It provides guidance on the process that led to the completion of the GSOCmap and on how to use it. The map provides users with valuable information to monitor the soil condition, identify degraded areas, set restoration targets, explore SOC sequestration potentials, and support the greenhouse gas emission reporting

Download the 2nd  ed. of the Cookbook | Technical report of the GSOC map

Implementing the GSOC17 Outcome document on SOC

The Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbongathered more than 400 participants from 111 countries, including representatives of FAO member states, organizing institutions, the private sector and civil society, as well as scientists and practitioners working on soil organic carbon (SOC) and related fields. Participants from across the globe engaged actively by presenting the results of studies demonstrating the potential and challenges of managing and monitoring SOC and by discussing and developing the key messages reflected in the outcome document. The outcome document “Unlocking the potential of soil organic carbon” provides 8 recommendations made based on this work and are aimed at supporting the development of policies and actions to foster the protection, sequestration, measurement, mapping, monitoring and reporting of SOC. The ITPS and the GSP Secretariat together with various partners are currently addressing these recommendations with several activities. An update on the ongoing work for the preparation of a technical manual on SOC management and the preparation of guidelines for measuring, mapping, monitoring and reporting on SOC, is presented here.


Updates from the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution

The Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP18) convened from 2 – 4 May 2018 at FAO HQ to support actions and decisions towards the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Sustainable Soil Management  and the UNEA3 Resolution on soil pollution in terms of preventing, reducing soil pollution and restoring polluted sites. A wide array of stakeholders, more than 500 participants from 100 countries, including relevant panelists, scientists, experts, policy makers and the private sector met to discuss the threat of soil pollution and begin planning a more consistent and unified international response. "Soil pollution affects the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe and the health of our ecosystems," said Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of FAO, in her opening speech. Promising researches and new scientific results were presented during these 53 hours of debate. The scientific outcome document "Be the Solution to Soil Pollution" is under preparation and will provide a concrete way forward for addressing soil pollution in the framework of, SDGs, UNEA3 resolution and the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management and as a direct contribution to food safety, environment and human health. 

Press release  | Web story | Highlight and reports | Photos  |  Key moments video  |  Presentations | proceeedings | Outcome document (soon available)


Towards a Code of Conduct for the Management and Use of Fertilizers 

Heeding the request from the Committee on Agriculture (COAG), at its 25th session (26-30 September 2016) to strengthen work on food safety through fertilizers and pesticides, an International Code of Conduct for the Use and Management of Fertilizers was developed to support the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Sustainable Soil Management and to assist countries to address the multiple issues related to the responsible use and management of fertilizers in agriculture.  An online consultation was opened to the public to acquire feedback on the contents/objectives of the Code from a broad range of stakeholders. A “zero draft Code of Conduct” was produced and endorsed during the ITPS 8th working session and underwent the revision of an open-ended working group (OEWG) of experts in fertilizer management and related policy formulation during a meeting held on 7 - 9 May 2018. The zero draft has been submitted to the 6th Plenary Session of the GSP Plenary Assembly for consideration.


Questionnaire on the Revised World Soil Charter

An online survey, designed by the GSP Secretariat with the support of the ITPS, was launched in March 2018 with the objective of assessing how the different stakeholders used the revised World Soil Charter and its principles and guidelines. Participants in the survey, were asked to provide information on the status of implementation of activities for their group in their respective countries. The survey was particularly useful in highlighting the major barriers to the implementation of the principles in the revised WSC and underlining suggestions on how to better promote, disseminate and implement the revised WSC at the national/local level. The results of the questionnaire will be under the spotlight during the Sixth Plenary Assembly of the Global Soil Partnership

For more information click here


International Symposium on Soil Health and Sustainable Development

The Beijing Municipal Agriculture Bureau and the Beijing Soil Fertilizer Extension Service Station supported by the FAO Global Soil Partnership (GSP) organized the International Symposium on Soil health and Sustainable Development – A Strategy for “The Belt and Road” from 24 to 26 May 2018 in Beijing, China. This Symposium is key in contributing to the promotion of sustainable soil management along the Belt and Road, advocating for the establishment of soil protection laws, systems and mechanisms in countries along the Belt and Road, mainly through the implementation of the VGSSM which provides a common platform for experts.

"The Belt and Road healthy soils declaration", which is expected at the end of the symposium together with the symposium output, will be a policy-oriented document based on scientific evidence showing the pathway towards SSM implementation and highlighting success stories and technological innovations in this field. The document will provide specific recommendations for adopting, upscaling and supporting SSM. The symposium is expected to serve as a board for enhancing collaboration and synergies to move SSM forward and achieve implementation in countries along the Belt and Road and all the other regions of the world.

For more information click here


Joint Actions for major impact in Latin America

According to the Status of World Soil Resources report, approximately 33% of global soils are degraded, 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. With the aim to tackle these challenges, representatives from 15 countries of Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean countries met in Panama City, Panamá from 21 to 23 February 2018 to analyze the main achievements of the Regional Soil Partnership and strengthen its engagement in the implementation of their regional Plan. Among the top priorities for the biennium 2018-2019, crucial outcomes included the launch of the Regional Network of Soil Laboratories (LATSOLAN) in Texcoco, Mexico, 1 – 3 March 2018, the Soil Information System in Latin America (SISLAC), capacity-building trainings, 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, economic and social effects, requiring a holistic approach to address it. All countries are concerned by food security, but this is impossible to reach if soils lose quality and if we do not maintain productivity” said Mr. Olegario Muñiz, re-elected President of the Regional Partnership for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Central America, Caribbean and Mexico Soil Partnership workshop, Feb. 2018 Report | Presentations | Photogallery

Launch of the Latin American Network of Soil Laboratories, March 2018  Report | Presentations | Photogallery