Global Soil Partnership

FAO’s Global Soil Partnership launched the Global Soil Biodiversity Observatory at COP15

During the Conference of the Parties of the Convention of Biological Diversity (COP15), FAO's Global Soil Partnership, the International Network on Soil Biodiversity (NETSOB) and partners contributed to make soil biodiversity prominent in the negotiations and as a potential contributor to the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.  Accordingly, parties endorsed the 2020-2030 Plan of Action of the International Initiative for the conservation and sustainable use of soil biodiversity. COP15 invited FAO and its Global Soil Partnership to facilitate its implementation together with partners. 


Besides, the Global Soil Biodiversity Observatory was launched on December 17 through a high-level Ministerial Dialogue. This high-level event was attended by ministers of environment and agriculture from several countries as well as delegates from FAO and the CBD.


While above-ground biodiversity is familiar to most people, and its protection is promoted, there is little attention to below-ground biodiversity. Therefore, in many countries, we still lack basic knowledge of the diversity of the multitude of soil organisms that contribute important ecosystem services. How can we protect what we do not know? Soil biodiversity information is needed and the GLOSOB can provide it.

Above and below-ground biodiversity are intimately connected and management and conservation practices must take both habitats into account. GLOSOB’s mission is therefore to serve as an Observatory providing data and information on soil biodiversity to guide evidence-based decision-making. It is a country-led effort to monitor and predict soil biodiversity on a global scale and to assess the impact of human activities on soils and their ecosystem services. Measurement, mapping and monitoring of soil biodiversity will be carried out in countries, at agreed sites and using standard protocols, methods and tools, taking into account national capacities.    

GLOSOB will strengthen national capacities of:

  • Laboratories, with regard to state-of-the-art methods and tools to measure soil biodiversity according to standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  • National experts, to facilitate the interpretation of soil biodiversity data and information.
  • Institutions, in the measurement, mapping and monitoring of soil biodiversity.
  • Land users, in the adoption of sustainable land uses, management and conservation of soil biodiversity for sustainable and resilient agriculture, bioremediation, and ecosystem restoration.
  • Policymakers, to subsidize the development of public policies on soil biodiversity, and evidence-based decision-making. 

Details about the launch, including a summary of the presentations, speakers and statements can be found on the IISD Earth Negotiation Bulletin.