Global Soil Partnership
 

Pillar 3: Promote targeted soil research and development focusing on identified gaps, priorities and synergies with related productive, environmental and social development actions

©FAO/Simon Maina

There is a large number of research activities and projects related to soils around the world. Many projects would benefit from increased coordination with other on-going research activities. Communication amongst research communities dealing with various aspects of soils is often limited or non-existent; and inter- and trans-disciplinary research is still very limited.

Building bridges between various research communities could bring large benefits to the global scientific knowledge base and lead to more coherent soil related activities. Breaking disciplinary barriers among geology, soil science, agronomy, forestry, pasture/rangeland management, hydrology, water resources management, agro-climatology, ecology, soil biology and ecosystems research could improve the quality and applicability of research and provide new avenues for future integrated research and development programs.

The biophysical aspects of research must be associated with relevant research into social, political and economic issues that are inherently tied to the whole questions of soil protection/conservation through soil management. 

The GSP should closely link to new global research initiatives, like the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, and should also provide input and support to the main scientific advisory bodies of the three Rio Conventions: IPCC for the UNFCCC, IPBES for the CBD and the UNCCD. 

The GSP implementation mechanisms should be able to identify and support soil research and development priorities to address key soil issues that are relevant to the main programmatic areas but currently undertaken, or only in an uncoordinated way, by diverse organizations and institutions dealing with sustainable soil resources management, food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as water supply and quality. The aim will be to help focus and bring together wide-ranging soils research and knowledge to address the specific development challenges and concerns of today. 

The key goal of this plan of action is to stimulate the implementation of targeted soil research as a response to emerging demands from the soil users and practitioners who daily face constraints and challenges for implementing sustainable soil management practices and increasing productivity. Furthermore, research results should be promoted for its improved use in development.  

The development of the Plan of Action for Pillar 3 was initiated during a special session at the 2nd Global Soil Week held in Berlin in October 2013. This was followed by a session held in Jordan in December 2013 during the Near East and North Africa (NENA) Land and Water Days. A Working Group was subsequently established through an open call for experts to this plan of action.

The Working Group worked 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 detailed review, ITPS members agreed that the Plan was not at the required level to be endorsed as it is and requested for re-writing it under a general agreed framework.  It was agreed that the preparation of the Pillar Plan will be overseen by a new sub-group of the ITPS. The members are Dr Helaina Black (Chair), Dr Martin Yemefack, Dr David Espinosa Victoria, Dr Miguel Taboada, Dr Maria de Lourdes Mendonca Santos, Dr Neil McKenzie, Prof Dr Milkha Singh Aulakh, Dr Kazuyuki Yagi, Dr Suk Young Hong,  Dr Dominique Arrouays, Mr Jon Hempel and Dr Sobocká Jaroslava. A new Working Group shall be established and will prepare and circulate to all ITPS members a draft of its revised plan of action prior to the World Congress (end of May). The new ITPS sub-committee will consider this draft and is delegated to make the final decision – in a meeting to be organized by the GSP Secretariat at the World Soil Congress – on whether the revised Pillar Plan should be submitted to the GSP Plenary.