Global Soil Partnership

Moving forward for a sustainable management of salt-affected soils: release of the GSAS21 proceedings and outcome document

The Global Symposium on Salt-Affected Soils (GSAS21) – “Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity” addressed one of the most acute soil threats worldwide, soil salinization and sodification, which challenges the sustainable development of countries with arid and semiarid climates and extensive coastal areas. 


The Symposium was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) and its Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) in cooperation with theScience Policy Interface of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (SPI-UNCCD)the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS)the International Network on Salt-affected Soils (INSAS),theGlobal Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG), theInternational Center on Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA). This scientific-policy meeting gathered thousands scientists, specialists, practitioners, policy makers and farmers. 


The Proceedings book of GSAS21 contain all scientific abstracts presented during the Symposium and provide up-to-date scientific knowledge and practical solutions on:

  • assessment, mapping, and monitoring of salt-affected soils (Chapter 1);
  • rehabilitation and management of salt-affected areas (Chapter 2);
  • actions needed to prevent soil degradation, rehabilitate salt-affected soils, and protect natural environments with saline and sodic soils (Chapter 3).

The book also includes 26 practices aimed at sustainable management of salt-affected soils (Chapter 4).

Read the Proceedings of GSAS21


The Symposium Outcome document gives an overview of the 3-day meeting and outlines the 9 main recommendations that evolved from the presentations and discussions held during GSAS21. FAO members and their policy advisors and decision-makers are encouraged to use this document and to implement, support and stimulate the implementation of these recommendations at national and local levels.

In short, the 9 main GSAS21 recommendations contained in the Outcome are:

  • support the harmonization of the procedures of soil salinity, sodicity and alkalinity assessment;
  • refine and update the protocols for mapping salt-affected soils using modern approaches;
  • promote national and regional programmes designed at monitoring salt-affected soils;
  • promote the formulation and wider use of indicators of soil salinity and sodicity;
  • promote the adoption of good practices;
  • support the development of water quality criteria to avert soil salinization and sodification;
  • design strategies aimed at adopting good practices/options;
  • conduct an economic assessment of implementing good practices for managing salt-affected soils;
  • support the development of policy frameworks to prevent salinization and manage sustainably salt-affected soils.

Read the GSAS21 Outcome document

International Network of Salt-affected Soils

The International Network of Salt-affected Soils (INSAS), launched under the framework of the FAO’s GSP, serves as a scientific reference on salt-affected soils and as the key technical network for the implementation of the recommended actions contained in the Outcome document and the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management. Among its activities, the INSAS is working on the development of harmonized methods and approaches as well as upscaling good practices for sustainable soil management, specifically in areas suffering from water shortages and salinization/sodification. Core activities of the INSAS are  awareness raising and capacity development.

Learn more about the International Network of Salt-affected Soils (INSAS)

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