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International experts meet in Quito for Sustainable Soil and Land Management

Quito hosted a regional meeting organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which brought together government representatives from more than 20 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, who presented for three days, the tools developed in the framework of a regional project of FAO on soil information generation for the sustainable management of natural resources in South American countries.


The objective of this meeting was to review the progress and challenges faced by the countries of the region in developing their national capacities to provide reliable soil data, recovery, storage and harmonization of soil information, laboratory analysis methods and digital mapping of this resource, which allows the formulation of actions and strategies to manage the improvement of its productive and environmental functions and which may be included as a priority in government policies.

This project has also contributed to reactivating the Latin American Soil Information System (SISLAC) with a new design, the use of free software and a large storage capacity, as well as the development of the world map of soil organic carbon.

The meeting to be held from 20 to 22 May 2019 is also part of the work agenda of the Global Soil Alliance (GLO), a specialized interactive, responsive and voluntary mechanism, open to governments, regional organizations, institutions and other stakeholders to promote investment and research for sustainable soil management.

Ecuador, represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, as a member of the WHA, was selected as the host country for the important advances reported in recent years such as the presentation of the National Land Degradation Assessment, the National Soil Organic Carbon Map, among others.

FAO data indicates that 33% of the world's soils are degraded due to rapid population growth, an imminent rising food demand and competition for land uses. In this scenario, it is necessary to be able to articulate initiatives from different sectors that contribute to minimize soil degradation and restore productivity of affected areas in regions where the rural population is the most vulnerable.

John Preissing, FAO Representative in Ecuador, acknowledged the importance of this regional meeting and mentioned that in order to meet the indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals, it is essential to improve knowledge on the state and trends of soil conditions through the establishment or strengthening of information systems. "It is not possible to guarantee food security and sustainable productive development if we are not aware of the earth's environmental services for water regulation and supply, climate regulation and biodiversity conservation," he said.

At the end of the day, it is hoped that the participating governments will be able to count on inputs that will allow them to articulate soil information as a fundamental component for the design of projects and policies aimed at achieving the neutral degradation of the land and sustainable management goals established in Agenda 2030.

About the project:

In 2017, FAO launched a regional project for the development of soil information capacities for the sustainable management of natural resources in seven South American countries: Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia and Colombia, led by Colombia, in partnership with the Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute (IGAC). To date, the participating countries have prepared their organic carbon map, which has been included in the world map of organic carbon and has promoted the reactivation of the Latin American Soil Information System (SISLAC), which will generate tools for decision making in the countries.

Useful links:

Details of the event | Agenda | Workshop and TCP closure agenda | Full programme | Presentations | Photogallery | Press release (ES)