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 The United Nations General Assembly designated 5 December as World Soil Day (WSD) and proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Soils (IYS) and 2016 as the International year of Pulses (IYP). 

World Soil Day 2016 fittingly merges the IYS 2015 and IYP 2016 with the theme "Soil & Pulses: a symbiosis for life". Under this theme, WSD 2016 highlights the multifaceted benefits of pulses not only for human health and nutrition, but also for their contribution to soil health and sustainable agriculture through the symbiotic relationship between soil and pulses created by the nitrogen fixing abilities of pulses.


In celebration, a new book titled "Soils & Pulses: symbiosis for life" will be launched December the 5th. This 114-page publication illustrates the various ways in which the “strategic alliance” between soil and pulses contributes to forging more sustainable food and agriculture systems, presenting decision makers and practitioners with scientific facts and technical recommendations for managing this symbiosis. It ultimately explores how sustainable practices can be implemented in support of the effort to end hunger and malnutrition, adapt to climate change, halt soil degradation and achieve overall sustainable development.

Capitalizing on the awareness raising momentum created by the IYS 2015, the first ever Glinka World Soil Prize has been awarded on the occasion of WSD2016 to the Colombian Instituto Geografico Augustín Codazzi (IGAC) in recognition of its leadership and activities contributing to the promotion of sustainable soil management. IGAC coordinates the Colombian Spatial Data Infrastructure, trains professionals from across the globe in various soil modalities, and is rapidly modernizing geospatial technologies in Latin America. In only three years IGAC unveiled a study that sheds light on Colombian soils, their morphology and complex economic and social context. Overall, the Institute is compiling information that will change the way that governments and businesses work in relation to soil management in the decades ahead. 

In keeping with the celebration of eff‑orts contributing to sustainable soil management, we are pleased to mention the endorsement on the same day of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management by FAO Council. These guidelines will further pave the way towards supporting governments and institutions in mainstreaming sustainable development and implementing the 20130 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

On 5 December, for World Soil Day 2016, a special celebration took place at the Sheik Zayed Centre in the Atrium, FAO headquarters, in Rome, at 18h00, followed by a soil and agriculture development exhibition offered by the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of Thailand. Join the Rome event by webcast