Partenariat mondial sur les sols

Global Symposium on Soil Pollution | GSOP18

The Global Symposium on Soil Pollution is the first step in implementing the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management in terms of preventing and reducing harmful substances in soil as a way to maintain healthy soils and food safety in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, the symposium outcomes should provide scientific evidence to support actions and decisions to prevent and reduce soil pollution for increased food safety, security and nutrition, and ecosystem services, and promote the restoration of polluted sites.

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Background information

Across the globe soil pollution resulting also from anthropogenic activities has become a widespread problem with direct impact on food quality and safety. According to the Status of World’s Soil Resources report released in 2015 and the Voluntary Guidelines on Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM) endorsed by the FAO Council in December 2016, soil contamination represents one of the ten major threats facing global soils. The agricultural sector, including crops, livestock, fisheries, and soil and water management, is both a bearer and a contributor of global soil pollution. Soil pollution implies the presence of a chemical or substance out of place or present at higher than normal concentrations that has adverse effects on any non-targeted organism. Pollutants can enter soils from a wide range of sources including, among other means, agricultural inputs, atmospheric deposition, flood and irrigation water, accidental spills, inappropriate solid, liquid and hazardous waste disposal, industrial activities. Soil pollution is insidiously hazardous as it is not always directly observable in the field and in many cases cannot be detected and assessed on time. Negative consequences may embrace plant toxicities and subsequent productivity declines, contamination of water and off-site areas through sediment transport, and increased human and animal health risks due to the accumulation of contaminants in the food-chain.

Specific GSOP18 Objectives

1. Examine the current scientific and technical understanding of soil pollution and its effects on food production and safety, and human health;

2. Critically reflect on the impact of land use decisions on soil pollution at the national level and eventually, on air and water pollution where polluted soil or its pollutants can be transported by erosion processes or water runoff;

3. Identify and discuss limitations and prioritize key challenges related to restoring polluted sites;

4. Review existing international policies, agreements and frameworks addressing sources of pollution to agricultural land in order to assess their effectiveness and propose ways to improve them; and,

5. Survey and examine the use of soil thresholds globally exploring additional research and policy needs. 

--- Concept note ---

Call for extended abstracts 

The Organizing Committee of the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP18) is currently accepting abstracts that will compete for oral and poster presentations during this symposium. The extended abstracts shall be written in English, maximum 2000 words in Word format.

Abstracts should address one of the following symposium themes (reflecting the above objectives):


THEME 1: Soil pollution on agricultural fields


      Sub-theme 1.1: Drivers of soil pollution in agricultural fields

      Sub-theme 1.2: Assessing the on-site and off-site impacts of soil pollution

THEME 2: The impact of soil pollution on food production and safety, the environment and overall                               human well-being

      Sub-theme 2.1: Soil Pollution and the four dimensions of food security

      Sub-theme 2.2: Anti-microbial resistance (AMR)

THEME 3: Remediation of polluted sites

      Sub-theme 3.1: Mapping, monitoring and modeling soil pollution

      Sub-theme 3.2: Rehabilitation and productivity remediation of polluted sites

THEME 4: Developing policies to prevent and control soil pollution

THEME 5: Setting thresholds for soil pollutants

Guide for authors:

All extended abstracts must be submitted in the prescribed format (Extended abstract template) and emailed to [email protected], indicating ``Call for extended abstracts/Your full name/Preferred Theme`` in the subject line and will be revised by the GSOP18 Scientific Committee.

Please note: The deadline for abstract submission is February 15, 2018. Authors will be notified with a decision regarding their abstract submission by 15 March 2018 and details for oral and poster presentations will be provided. For any enquiries regarding GSOP18 and abstract submission, please contact: [email protected].

Expected GSOP18 outputs

The programme for the symposium will be designed to engage all participants in discussions held during plenary sessions. With this bold action, organizers and participants will contribute to the implementation of the VGSSM and the development of policies on soil pollution/remediation of polluted sites. They will also be concerned with the drafting process of three different outlines: 1) on pollutant thresholds; 2) on  governance of manure in relation to antimicrobial use (AMU) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR); and, 3 draft guidelines for organic and mineral fertilizers application. The symposium should result in enhanced capacity to: promote networks for technical and scientific cooperation on soil pollution and remediation; identify/understand research gaps and priority areas for intervention; establish an international controlling body to regulate the application of animal manure containing antibiotics; strengthen the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and the Stockholm conventions; identifying and prioritizing issues related to soil contamination by fertilizers, pesticides, POPs and AMU.

Proceedings of the Meeting will be published together with an envisaged special issue on soil pollution and food security in a high-impact scientific journal.


Looking forward to your active participation in this important event.

02 May 2018
- 04 May 2018
FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy