Alianza Mundial por el Suelo

GLOSOLAN special 5th anniversary! Celebrating the network's key achievements in bringing soil laboratories to the forefront

On November 10 2022, the Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN) celebrated its 5th anniversary. An online event was organized to celebrate the Network’s major achievements and to recall the key role of soil laboratories in providing reliable soil data for the overall implementation of sustainable soil management. 


With over 400 registered participants, the event was opened by Mr Ronald Vargas, Secretariat of the Global Soil Partnership. Mr Vargas stressed the important role that GLOSOLAN is playing in improving the analytical capacity of countries worldwide. This would not be possible without the committed network of experts and the synergies across institutions operating in different countries and regions that GLOSOLAN has been able to create.  

The fraternity among institutions and countries was emphasized also by the GLOSOLAN Chair, Ms Miriam Ostinelli, who underlined that the success of GLOSOLAN is possible only thanks to the commitment of its member institutions and, above all, the dedication of the people. 

A video (available here) was prepared to report on the major achievements of the Network from 2017 to 2022. With over 900 soil laboratories from 152 countries registered, GLOSOLAN was successful in establishing 7 Regional Soil Laboratory Networks (RESOLANs) and more than 20 National Soil Laboratory Networks (NASOLANs). In this five years and thanks to the support of its members, around 40 standard operating procedures for soil analysis were harmonized, global assessments on the status of soil laboratories were released in 2018 and 2020, regional and global inter-laboratory comparisons were implemented, and 30 webinars engaging more than 4 000 people worldwide were organized. Additionally, GLOSOLAN developed online tools to promote the transition of laboratories towards the use of more sustainable methods of analysis, procured equipment for 16 laboratories in 16 countries and distributed about 1 500 pieces of personal protection equipment. 

The event was enriched by the presence of guest speakers from various regions. Mr Taek-Ryoun Kwon, Director General at the Rural Development Agency of the Republic of Korea, stressed the importance of soil laboratories in providing high-quality data to be used as a base to develop sustainable soil management practices, national assessments and soil information systems. For this reason, Mr. Kwon remarked on the relevance of investing in the establishment and improvement of soil laboratories. The need to financially support soil laboratories was also underlined by Mr. Alain Brauman (National Research Institute for Sustainable Development, France), who also conveyed his experience in training laboratory staff in the Asian region, where the first Regional Soil Laboratory Network (SEALNET) was established. “While purchasing equipment is important, it is even more important to invest in people's  capacity and this is what GLOSOLAN is doing”, Mr. Brauman stated. Moreover, Mr. Brauman linked the role played by laboratories to the need to get deeper information on soil nutrients' status in order to ensure food security. Not least, he also recalled the importance of having precise data to manage soil carbon stocks and the make better use of the soil organic carbon sequestration potential of agricultural fields. Mr. Cornelius Zemba (Zambian Ministry of Agriculture) shared his experience working with smallholder farmers in Central-Southern Africa. According to Mr. Zemba, farmers are not fully aware of the role that soil data could play in improving the productivity of their fields. Still, the accessibility to soil testing is a major issue in most cases, and the cost related to soil analysis represents a main obstacle for farmers that often prefer to purchase and blindly apply fertilizers instead. To close this section, Mr. David Smedley and Ms. Emanga Alobwede (Soil Evidence Team at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - DEFRA, the United Kingdom) stated that data standardization is at the very forefront of all DEFRA activities. From this perspective, the work done by GLOSOLAN to make standard operating procedures available in different languages and for free is indeed remarkable. 

Ms. Natalia Rodriguez (GSP Secretariat) remarked on the importance of GLOSOLAN’s work and the availability of reliable data to the implementation of all GSP activities. In order to support soil laboratories, they need to be better connected with the FAO regional and country offices, with the GSP Focal Points and to all stakeholders operating on soil in their country. 

The event ended with the display of a video compiling the happy birthday wishes of more than 100 laboratories from 50 countries in local languages. The video truly represents the multinational character of GLOSOLAN and the recognition of the Network worldwide.  

Further details on the GLOSOLAN birthday can be found on the webpage of the event 

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