Global Soil Partnership

GSP Action Framework 2022-2030

WHAT IS THE NEW GSP ACTION FRAMEWORK 2022-2030?

The “Action Framework 2022-2030" comes on the back of an external audit advising the GSP to ramp up its’ focus on creating equitable and neutral systems that are inclusive of all countries and provide capacity-building support to those being left behind.  The Action Framework was endorsed at May’s 10th GSP Plenary Assembly, to leverage the scale and scope of sustainable soil management (SSM), improving the governance of the world’s soil resources.

“Healthy soils are a pre-requisite in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With the 2022-2030 Action Framework, we commit to move towards a world with healthy soils that sustain biodiverse ecosystems and contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Natalia Rodríguez Eugenio, from the GSP Secretariat.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The GSP held four Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) meetings to review the set of targets entitled the “Action Framework for 2022-2030," which outlines the objectives for the Partnership’s actions to protect soils over the next ten years and will replace the Pillars of Action. The fourth and last gathering of the OEWG came ahead of the annual Plenary Assembly scheduled for 23-25 May 2022, which united representatives from the FAO Members, the GSP Partners and Focal points as well as the GSP’s seven regional soil partnerships to establish priorities for the global soil agenda. 

Chaired by Thanawat Tiensin, the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Thailand to FAO, the work carried out by the OEWG was deemed a unanimous success by members, with many praising the potential of the Action Framework to achieve SSM  

“We hope that the Action Framework 2022-2030 will steer success towards soil governance, awareness raising, and the monitoring of soil status and trends, as it provides a common approach and vision,” said Ronald Vargas, the GSP’s Secretary.  

DISCOVER THE NEW ACTION FRAMEWORK 

The process behind the new Action Framework

The process behind the new Action Framework

In 2019, FAO Members and partners agreed to review the progress made by the GSP to date in order to envisage a new consolidation phase (see the report of the 7th session of the GSP Plenary Assembly). The stocktaking exercise (semi-evaluation) noted that the GSP was instrumental in positioning soils on the global agenda, including on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and similar international agreements. It made a series of recommendations (see Annex 2), including the need to move from pillars to a more outcome-oriented framework and to explore the institutionalization of the Partnership into a statutory body within the FAO. 

In response to these recommendations, a new action framework for the GSP for 2022-2030 focused on healthy soils was drafted by the GSP Secretariat and the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) and presented to the 9th GSP Plenary Assembly (PA). At this session, the GSP’s PA recommended the establishment of an Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to review and finalize the new GSP Action Framework 2022-2030 following an inclusive process and submit it for consideration by the 10th GSP PA. 

This framework was developed by the OEWG (see annex 5) and was submitted to the 10th GSP PA and the 28th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) for their consideration and endorsement. Upon endorsement, the GSP PA may designate an ad-hoc technical working group to complete the work on indicators and develop a reporting system to be submitted to the 11th PA.

Moreover, and in accordance with the outcomes of the GSP institutionalization process, the ToRs of the GSP shall be revised accordingly and submitted for approval by the FAO Council or, if applicable, the Conference, including prior submission to the Programme Committee and Finance Committee.

i. Vision

i. Vision

A world in which soils are healthy and resilient, ensuring the sustained provision of ecosystem functions and services for all, leaving no one behind. 

To this end, the GSP must work to improve and maintain the health of at least 50 percent of the world’s soils by 2030. 

ii. Mission

ii. Mission

To facilitate improved governance of the planet’s limited soil resources and guarantee the provision of healthy soils for a food secure world, as well as support other essential ecosystem functions and services, in accordance with the sovereign right of each State over its’ natural resources.

Effective soil governance requires the involvement of all stakeholders – politicians, practitioners, scientists, publics and private entities, as well as consumers – many of whom are not always aware of the medium or long-term impact of their activities on soils nor of the existing legal instruments that regulate their activities. Improved soil awareness, on every level, is therefore a key requirement for strengthening soil governance. Continuous awareness raising on soils and their functions and improved soil education and literacy on SSM are a sine qua non conditions for achieving the GSP’s mission.

iii. Ambition

iii. Ambition

To contribute to unlock the potential of healthy soils and scale-up SSM approaches to meet local needs and respond to the daunting array of global challenges. This overall ambition will require very decisive changes this decade based on action at national and local levels.

A clear ambition shared by all GSP members and partners, with quantifiable goals, targets and indicators will enable the state of soils to be assessed and monitored and the progress made by individual members and partners in achieving the vision of healthy soils to be recognized. This will lead to the identification of priority areas of work and regions where further commitment, collaboration and investment are needed to address the various threats to soil health that are unevenly distributed. Activities to promote and maintain soil health must be implemented by all GSP members and partners, ensuring that no region or country is left behind.

iv. GSP action areas

iv. GSP action areas

To further develop the GSP towards a flexible action-oriented or outcomes-oriented approach , by renaming and refining the existing pillars into “action areas” which can be dynamic and responsive towards the needs of stakeholders and global challenges. This approach will give continuity to the foundational work of the GSP and allow the GSP Action Framework 2022-2030 to align with the global agendas listed in Annex 4 in a productive manner.  

An action-oriented strategy will generate increased knowledge and awareness that facilitates greater societal engagement and participation, as well as Resource Mobilization by clearly setting out how and to what extent healthy soils can contribute to addressing key global challenges. In this regard, the GSP must provide the necessary expertise, participation, and solutions.

Figure 1 depicts how the vision, mission and ambition of this Action Framework can be achieved, by articulating actions to halt and reverse soil degradation through SSM and achieve healthy soils that contribute to address other environmental challenges by encompassing all the cross-cutting aspects represented by the pillars. The Action Framework is based on six action areas to be developed and implemented by the GSP networks:

  • Sustainably manage and restore soils for the provision of ecosystem services.
  • Strengthen soil governance.
  • Promote knowledge and literacy on soils.
  • Promote awareness raising and advocacy on soil health.
  • Assess, map, and monitor soil health in a harmonized way.
  • Foster technical cooperation including among genders and youth.

v. Targets and indicators

v. Targets and indicators

The development and collection of quantifiable information on the impact of the GSP on the status and trends of soil health and on people's lives, as well as on the capacity of countries to collect data and information to assess and monitor soils, would provide a real measure of the impact of the GSP on SSM and soil governance. The quantification of impacts would also facilitate Resource Mobilization efforts, increase ownership and multiply the reach of the Partnership’s activities. 

The development and adoption of targets and indicators in line with international agreements particularly the three Rio Conventions and the SDGs and others more specific to the status of soils and the adoption of SSM will allow for a more comprehensive assessment and monitoring of soil health and its’ contribution to all global environmental challenges. Concrete targets addressing the cross-cutting nature of soils and their relevance to the achievement of the conventions’ goals will allow all parties of the Rio Conventions to expand on established national to global monitoring related to soils and measure the positive impacts of soil health-related synergies resulting from interaction with the other bodies.

In addition, to ensure the sustainability of the positive impact of SSM and GSP actions on the ground, it is necessary to consolidate soil governance within responsible land governance. To this end, the GSP should seek to reinforce cooperation with the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and work towards the integration of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) and the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM) as land tenure constitutes a prerequisite for promoting the adoption of good practices. 

The selection of feasible indicators has been a challenge for the soil science community and requires both an in-depth analysis based on national commitments and capacities as well as a focus on harmonization and comparability across countries to communicate the global scope of the challenge and the progress being made to address it. 

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