There is an urgent need to update the vision and guiding principles as spelled out some 30 years ago by FAO Member Countries in the World Soil Charter (FAO, 1981).
The 13 principles listed in the charter are still valid, but need to be updated and revised in light of new scientific knowledge gained over the past 30 years, especially with respect to new issues that emerged or were exacerbated during the last decades, like soil pollution and its consequences for the environment, climate change adaptation and mitigation and impacts of urban sprawl on soil availability and functions.
New priorities for action as well as follow-up activities should be identified, taking stock of past experiences and learning from the failures and mistakes that have resulted in a still persistent global problem of soil degradation and unsustainable use of available soil resources.
In order to start the preparation of a Plan of Action for Pillar 1 and part of Pillar 3, an International Conference on Managing Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation was organized by IAEA and FAO and took place in Vienna, Austria on 23-27 July. One day was devoted to the GSP Pillar of Action 1 and Pillar of Action 2 regarding sustainable soil management and targeted research.
Furthermore, a workshop “Managing Living Soils” has been organized by GSP at FAO HQ from 5 to 7 December.