Global Soil Partnership

5th Plenary Assembly: Report available

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The Global Soil Partnership Plenary Assembly (GSP PA) gathered for its fifth annual meeting from 20 to 22 June 2017 at FAO headquarters in Rome. Representatives of the different partners and members to FAO discussed the work plan and priority GSP activities for 2017-2018. Over 200 participants from 65 countries joined the high-profile event during which Ms. Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources said “The GSP Plenary Assembly is a unique, neutral and multi-stakeholder platform to discuss global soil issues, to learn from good practices, and to deliberate on actions to secure healthy soils for an effective provision of ecosystem services and food for all". She added that "action at the country level is the new frontier".


The PA endorsed three new networks aimed at facilitating the exchange of soil data/information: (1) the setting up of the Global Soil Information System (GLOSIS) according to the endorsed Arrangement, the election of the International Network of Soil Information Institutions (INSII) chair, the appointment of the GSP Soil Data Facility (SDF) until 2020, and the official endorsement of the proposed GSP Soil Data Policy to guide soil data sharing; and (2) the formal establishment of the International Network of Black Soils (INBS) with the appointment of the first INBS chair and, (3) the Global Soil Laboratories Network (GLOSOLAN) as part of the Pillar 5 Implementation Plan. As a follow-up to the final endorsement of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM) by the 155th session of the FAO Council (December 2016), the need for additional resources to implement the VGSSM at country level was strongly highlighted. The framework for implementation under the Regional Soil Partnerships through FAO regional and country offices under the 5 pillars was further discussed. 


Partners were also called on to support the execution of regional activities under the regional implementation plans (RIP). The interactions of the ITPS with IPCC, SPI-UNCCD and IPBES on the occasion of the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC17) were acknowledged. The PA further endorsed the organization of a Global Symposium on Soil Contamination and Pollution in April 2018 jointly with other relevant UN organizations and panels. A revision of the Rules of Procedure to extend the ITPS mandate to three years was approved and the ITPS work plan for the next year was supported which includes: the development of high-level publications such as the second version of the Status of the World’s Soil Resources report by 2025, an exploratory study on the economic benefits of sustainable soil management practices for farmers and other land users, and the forthcoming report on the assessment at global level of the impact of Plant Protection Products on soil functions and soil ecosystem services.

Moreover, the successful inception of the Glinka World Soil Prize in 2016 and the forthcoming second award on 5 December 2017 was unanimously approved by the Plenary. The temporary Art-exhibition, titled “Heart and Soil” added a colorful note to the scheduled opening of the Plenary on the 20th of June 2017, serving also as an appetizer for the launch of the communication campaign for World Soil Day 2017 “Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground”.  The theme for the World Soil Day 2018 celebration was chosen as “Be the solution to soil pollution”.  


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