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World Soil Day, December 5th

Soil Parade - Eurasian Soil Partnership, FAO, Dokuchaev Soil Society, Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, World Bank - Moscow, Russia

Soil Experiments - Centre for Functional Ecology, University of Coimbra - Coimbra, Portugal

WSD parade - Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Barisal, Soil Science Society of Bangladesh - Barisal, Bangladesh

WSD celebrations - Department of Agriculture Pathankot, Chak Chimnan - Bihar, India

WSD observance - National Soil Services Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Tsirang Dzonghag - Bhutan

5th December, World Soil Day

The Global Soil Partnership dedicates World Soil Day 2017 to the theme "Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground". Soil is a finite natural resource. On a human time-scale it is non-renewable. However, despite the essential role that soil plays in human livelihoods, there is a worldwide increase in degradation of soil resources due to inappropriate management practices, population pressure driving unsustainable intensification and inadequate governance over this essential resource. 

About World Soil Day

World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on 5 December as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and advocating for the sustainable management of soil resources.

An international day to celebrate Soil was recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. Under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand and within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, FAO has supported the formal establishment of WSD as a global awareness raising platform. The FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day  in June 2013 and requested its official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013 the UN General Assembly responded by designating 5 December 2014 as the first official World Soil Day. 

The date of 5 December for WSD was chosen because it corresponds with the official birthday of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, who officially sanctioned the event.

In 2016 this day was officially recognized in memory and with respect for this beloved monarch who passed away in October 2016 after seven decades as head of state.

In the following you will find a brief summary of the previous WSD editions, from 2012 to 2016 with links to the related communication toolkits.

World Soil Day 2016

FAO/GSP dedicated World Soil Day 2016 to the theme Soils & Pulses: Symbiosis for life, in celebration of the synergy between the International Year of Soils (IYS) 2015 and the International Year of Pulses (IYP) 2016. There are various ways in which the "strategic alliance" between soils and pulses contributes to forging more sustainable food and agriculture systems. The book “Soils & Pulses: Symbiosis for life”, presents decision-makers and practitioners with scientific facts and technical recommendations for managing the symbiosis between soils and pulses.  

The fifth World Soil Day 2016 Flickr photogallery features fun photos of events from countries such as Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Japan, Jordan, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Syria, Spain, Thailand, Tunisia, Italy, Turkey, UK and the US. 

Link to WSD 2016 communication material 

World Soil Day 2015

FAO was nominated to implement the International Year of Soil (IYS) 2015, within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership and in collaboration with FAO member countries. The theme for World Soil Day 2015 was "Healthy soils for a healthy life".

Special focus was placed on increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions. Soils are a critical component of the natural system and a vital contributor to human wellbeing through its contribution to food, water and energy security and mitigation of biodiversity loss. It was celebrated by the global community of 60 000 soil scientists charged with the responsibility of generating and communicating soil knowledge for the common good of all.

Link to the IYS 2015 website | Link to WSD 2015 communication material

World Soil Day 2014

"The soils community could really contribute to the efforts of food security, hunger eradication, climate change adaptation, poverty reduction and sustainable development"

This is how FAO and the GSP secretariat started their words of welcome during the first official celebration of World Soil Day... Soil specialists, politicians, leading experts, and top officials from all across the globe convened at FAO headquarters to emphasize the importance of soils beyond the soil science community.

Link to WSD 2014 communication material

World Soil Day 2013 and 2012

Recognizing the importance of soils, under the framework of the Global Soil Partnership and with the unanimous support of FAO members, the 37th FAO Conference endorsed 5th December as WSD and requested the UN General Assembly to provide its final endorsement. Since then the soils community has an important opportunity as soils are placed high in global discussions.

Link to WSD 2013 communication material | Link to WSD 2012 communication material