Global Soil Partnership

United for Soil Health | Regional workshop urges coordinated action to boost soil health in the Near East and North Africa

The closing workshop of the regional Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) “Capacity development for the sustainable management of soil resources in the NENA region to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” was held on March 7-8, 2023 in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman with the presence of senior representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture of the participating countries. The meeting was paired to the 8th NENA Soil Partnership meeting and was attended by 37 participants.

Adopted Muscat Communiqué for Sustainable Soil Management in the NENA region


The main objectives of the meeting were to share results and experiences from the TCP project implementation at country and regional level, and discuss about how to mainstream Sustainable Soil Management into financing mechanisms and decision-making processes. During the two-day regional event, the Muscat Communiqué for Sustainable Soil Management in the NENA region was adopted by the countries  reaffirming the importance of sustainable soil management as well as soil health in the NENA region.

‘Soil degradation represents a significant threat to food security in the NENA region. The outputs from the FAO NENA Technical Cooperation Project underscore the urgent need for coordinated action to scale up sustainable soil management’ said Dr. Hamdan Al Wahaibi, Director General of Agriculture and livestock Research Center, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, Sultanate of Oman This TCP project allowed for a data-driven assessment of the status of soil resources through soil mapping as well as the identification of priorities through the launch of regional and national action plans on soils. 

Day 1 - Consensus and Implementation

The first day of the event culminated with the adoption of the Muscat Communiqué for Sustainable Soil Management in the NENA region by 12 senior representatives of the Ministris of Agriculture, representing 12 countries of the NENA region (the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Lebanese Republic, the Republic of Iraq, the Republic of the Sudan, the Republic of Tunisia, the Republic of Yemen, Palestine, the Sultanate of Oman and the Syrian Arab Republic).

The workshop discussed the findings from the TCP project activities related to data management and mapping, as well as the status of soil laboratories in the NENA region.The day ended with a panel discussion on resource mobilization with the participation of representatives from the FAO's Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Coordination Unit, the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands, the League of Arab States and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). During the panel discussion, participants explored potential options for mobilizing resources on sustainable soil management within the region.

Day 2 - The NENA Soil Partnership Meeting

The first hybrid (both virtually and in presence) NENA Soil Partnership Meeting was held since the pandemic.  Country representatives were invited to review the progress made towards sustainable soil management and to present regional priorities and necessary actions to boost soil health in the region. The following priorities were shared and highlighted by numerous countries:

  • The establishment of national and a regional Soil Information System as well as a Steering Committee in NENA
  • The restoration of salt-affected soils as well as halting soil-salinization
  • The revision, development and implementation of legislative tools specifically targeting soils
  • The strengthening of soil laboratories

A dedicated session was also conducted to explore potential financing opportunities for the NENA region under the GEF. The participants welcomed and emphasized the need to develop a new project proposal on sustainable soil management for the region.

The meeting closed with addressing operational issues and establishing a new governance for the NENA Soil Partnership.

Way Forward

The regional TCP  project outputs as well as the relevant achievements of the national institutions pushing soils on the global agenda allowed for the identification of clear priorities and necessary actions for the NENA Soil Partnership and the region as a whole and represent a significant milestone in addressing the challenges of soil degradation and boosting soil health in the region. the event highlighted a promising outlook for further investment opportunities to scale up sustainable soil management and boost soil health in the region.

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Regional assessment of soil laboratories capacities and needs in the Near East and North Africa region

English: DOI  


Project achievements and key facts by country: