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Global Soil Partnership

Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management - ALL languages available

This 14-page document of voluntary nature and not legally binding, set out scientific principles and policy recommendations for the responsible governance of soils. The guidelines inform decision-making at higher levels and encourage implementation of sustainable soil management at regional/local level providing a basis on which States can build up their own strategies, policies, legislation. 


The VGSSM were developed through an inclusive process within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership. The Zero Draft was prepared by the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils following the conclusion of the consultation process with regional partners, and e-consultation through the Food Security and Nutrition Global Forum (January/February 2016). The First Draft incorporated proposal that were received from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia. The text of the Guidelines was finalized by the Open-Ended WG in April 2016. Adopted by the 4th GSP Plenary Assembly (Rome, 23 May 2016) and approved by the 25th session of the FAO Committee on Agriculture (Rome, 28 September 2016), the Guidelines were officially endorsed by the 155th session of the FAO Council on the 5th of December on the occasion of World Soil Day 2016.

The Guidelines address sustainable management of soils as a means to the achievement of food security, climate adaptation/mitigation and Sustainable Development Goals 2.4 and 15.3. They promote the effective and viable maintenance and enhancement of the ecosystem services that soils provide serving as both a complementary tool fostering the implementation of the revised World Soil Charter and as a reference for a wide range of committed stakeholders, including government officials, policy makers, farmers, pastoralists, forest and land managers, extension services and agricultural advisors, development partners, civil society, private sector, and academia.

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