Over the last two decades, investment and technical cooperation for soils have been lacking, but greater attention is being paid now to this invaluable resource.
Soil knowledge and soil implications on water, climate, biodiversity, energy, food and poverty issues are not properly addressed in the general education system, so a wide effort is needed to create public awareness and strengthen curricula and training on the importance of sustaining soils and their functions.
The GSP should develop guidelines and recommendations for investment and technical cooperation on soils and how to mobilize investments. The GSP should also assess the available soils expertise, capacities and interests and respective gaps of both the private and public sectors.
Creating awareness at all levels about the importance of soil resources for supporting life will be a key element of this pillar. Awareness raising campaigns, institutionalizing the World Soil Day and all sorts of mechanisms will be used in order to raise awareness and related support activities.
Furthermore, education in the field of soil science should be reinforced as a profession, which has been neglected in recent decades and as consequence there are limited technical capacities in countries and in international bodies dealing principally with sustainable soil management.
The formulation process for Pillar 2 Plan of Action started at the European Network on Soil Awareness workshop held in September 2013 at the James Hutton Institute. There, a working group was established and Mr. Arwyn Jones, Researcher at the Joint Research Centre was appointed as the chair of the working group.
The Working Group worked very hard to produce a final draft plan of action that was submitted to the Second ITPS working session (7-11 April 2014) for its review and endorsement. After a very dynamic process in which ITPS recommendations were included, the plan of action was endorsed by ITPS. This plan of action will then be submitted to the upcoming GSP Plenary Assembly (22-24 July 2014) for its final endorsement. Once endorsed, implementation plans at regional level will be developed for moving into needed actions.