Global Soil Partnership

World Soil Day 2020 Campaign report shows trends and outreach on #SoilBiodiversity

Since its first years World Soil Day (WSD) - 5 December acted as a global celebration consisting of activities such as photography exhibitions, film festivals, lectures, panel discussions, puppet shows, food bazaars, tree planting, fashion shows, concerts, sports competitions, quizzes, drawing contests, seminars, workshops, speeches, public awareness campaigns and poetry recitals.These events involved not only FAO offices and GSP partners, but also international and national NGOs, politicians, international celebrities, musicians and local dignitaries, as well as farmers and soil practitioners themselves.

From the time of the World Soil Day 2018, we gather data and key results of the campaign, analyzing our outreach and publishing a comprehensive report: The 2018 ‘Be the solution to soil pollution’, 2019 ‘Stop soil erosion, Save our future’, and last year's World Soil Day ‘Keep soil alive, Protect soil biodiversity’.

Read the World Soil Day 2020 - Campaign Report


Analysis of the World Soil Day offers a valuable insight into the opportunities and challenges faced by FAO’s GSP campaigning in the context of a Development Agenda with diverse environmental urges. World Soil Day is the right way for FAO’s GSP to promote further soil health and better soil governance.

Collective actions in more than 105 countries and hundreds of millions of participants make World Soil Day one of the most celebrated UN Observances. For its 2020 edition ‘Keep soil alive, Protect soil biodiversity', more than 780 events brought together governments, businesses, NGOs, youth, the media, and the public. From Rome to New York, Bangkok, Abu Dhabi, Moscow, many countries held official ceremonies and 21 FAO regional, sub-regional and country offices took an active part in the campaign.

Media coverage was strong - reaching 891 million users - roughly 2 out of 10 people worldwide. More than 500 online articles were detected globally between 3 and 7 December, most of them from Asia, North America, and Europe. In terms of broadcasting, WSD was well covered by the BBC,, and al-Jazeera. FAO’s press release presenting the launch of the “State of knowledge of soil biodiversity” attracted media interest, and major media outlets such as the New York Times, the Guardian, Xinhuanet, National Geographic, Science, and Le Monde gave prominence to soil biodiversity on 5 December.

The recipients of the Glinka World Soil Prize – Mr Luca Montanarella, European Commission – and the King Bhumibol WSD Award – Indian Council of Agricultural Research - India – were widely reported in the press. Ad-hoc communication materials and products were made available on the WSD website in more than 16 languages and downloaded 10 000 times (+25% compared to 2019). New content presented the secrets of soil biodiversity on which humans rely. The web stories (1) ‘Soils should have rights too’, (2) ‘It’s alive! Soil is much more than you think’ as well asthe webcast of the virtual event and the Director-General's speech gained significant track, digitally.

As every year, soil fans, education ministries, teachers, donors, soil science societies, and families joined efforts to make the WSD logo available in 100 languages, including local dialects. Furthermore, the joint work of soil scientists and designers led to the success of FAO’s Global Soil Partnership and the International Union of Soil Sciences’ ‘Book contest for children on soil biodiversity’, with 97 entries from 75 countries.

On social media, #WorldSoilDay content reached over 308 million accounts with 200 multilingual posts on 5 December. The top social media post was published on Twitter, with more than 800 retweets, 1.4k likes and 41 200 views. On the popular Chinese social media platform Weibo, the topic related to WSD reached 8.3 million accounts. The campaign video, released on WSD, was viewed more than 500 000+ times. The promotional videos produced for TikTok were viewed 42 000 times on 5 December. More than 5 490 accounts worldwide shared FAO content.

Read the World Soil Day 2020 - Campaign Report

WSD 2020 interactive map and official celebrations | WSD 2020 communication material | Contest results | Newsroom | Flickr photogallery

Photocredit: 5 December 2020 - “World Soil Day: Tribal community worshipping the mother soil and seeds as well as pledging to protect it”, Vaagdhara, NGO working with trial communities in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh States, India ©Sudeep Sharma