Over the last two decades, investment and technical cooperation for soils have been lacking, but greater attention is being paid now to these invaluable resources.
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.
Under the framework of the "Global Soil Partnership", FAO advocates for recognition of the importance of soils for achieving food security, as well as their pivotal role for further ecosystem services.
Activities such as the observance of World Soil Day by the UN, assist in creating awareness and achieving recognition for soil as a finite, non-renewable natural resource. Despite the essential role that soil plays in the life of people, there is increasing degradation of soil resources due to inappropriate practices, burgeoning population pressures and inadequate governance thereof.
The increasing degree and extent of soil degradation processes due to mismanagement and land use changes are threatening this resource and urgent action is needed to reverse this trend if we are to assure the necessary food production for future generations, mitigation of climate change, provision of clean groundwater, and a scaling down of biodiversity loss.
The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) tabled a resolution in 2002 proposing 5 December as World Soil Day, which was not endorsed by the UN system. While Water, Forests, Biodiversity and Desertification are recognized by the UN system and are well supported at the decision making levels, this does not occur with soils, which is a natural resource upon which Water, Forests, Biodiversity and Desertification depend.
Under the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, FAO and member countries will request the United Nations to recognize and dedicate one day a year to this important resource, recognizing that soils are the key to addressing the current and future pressures of a growing population. Recognition, advocacy and support for promoting sustainable management of soils is essential to guarantee healthy soils for a food, and further ecosystem services, secure world. Awareness, advocacy and extension at all levels on the importance of soils should be supported by specific activities, supported by the United Nations System, such as the celebration of the International Year of Soils in 2015.
The Global Soil Week was conceived as an international multi-stakeholder event on soils and their sustainable management, to contribute to the FAO Global Soil Partnership.
The Global Soil Week will take place annually as the point of assembly on the globe's soil issues. The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) will organise and host the first Global Soil Week to take place in Berlin on 18-22 November 2012.