Action commune de Koronivia pour l’agriculture

Key takeaways from workshop on 'Enhancing measurement capacities for improved soil carbon and health in Pacific Small Island Developing States'



Agriculture and climate change are two pressing priorities for Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Indeed, Pacific SIDS have always been highly exposed to and vulnerable to climate variability and extreme weather events as highlighted in the recently published IPCC WG2 report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.

In recent years, the productivity and sustainability of many cropping systems in the region have been threatened by a decline in the chemical, physical and biological health of soils. Soil carbon and soil health are essential in the fight against hunger and poverty but soils must be managed sustainably in order to reach their full potential. Healthy soils can sequester more carbon, thus significantly reducing greenhouse gases from agriculture.

This two-day virtual workshop held on 10-11 May 2022, brought together experts, practitioners, policymakers and various stakeholders from the climate and agriculture sectors. Supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF, Japan) the workshop was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The workshop aimed to:

  • Raise awareness on the urgent need to improve agricultural soil carbon and health in the Pacific SIDS.
  • Introduce science-based and feasible options, and discuss ways forward for the region.
  • Enhance knowledge and capacities of key stakeholders (technical experts, policymakers and development partners, etc.) on the measurement of soil carbon and health, and how it could contribute to climate targets including Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • Provide a space for stakeholders to learn about the benefits of soil data, including ways to estimate emissions/removals and track policy implementation (e.g. NDCs).
  • Provide stakeholders with further knowledge and tools for effective soil management practices and introduce opportunities for support.
  • Discuss and plan next steps for the Pacific SIDS by identifying practical and immediate actions.

Key messages and next steps:

  • The panel discussion highlighted the challenges faced by some countries in the region as well as decreasing soil fertility in Pacific SIDS.
  • Evidence points towards a devastating impact for Pacific SIDS if global warming reaches even 1.5°C, not to mention 2.0°C. Climate smart practices tailored to Pacific SIDS national circumstances and policies are essential.
  • NDC submissions from Pacific SIDS and the variety of approaches to climate finance make it clear that the Pacific region is highly diverse and vulnerable.
  • Greenhouse gas measurement, inventories and carbon markets are major challenges in the region.
  • New technologies and local resources (e.g. cover crops) must be scaled up to to reverse the current downward soil trend.
  • In line with the SDGs, Paris Agreement and other platforms and networks, and with support from local soil experts and the GSP (Global Soil Partnership), it is fundamental to continue raising awareness among communities in the Pacific on the strategic importance of soils for food and water security and climate change resilience.
  • Given  that some countries in the region do not have soil experts and/or laboratories, and soil data is often lacking, collaboration with soil experts in the region is essential. This would help to assess capacities and needs, and identify where targeted international support would help to advance action on soils.  
  • A possible next step would be to determine potential roles for Global Soil Doctors Programme of the GSP, noting that a promoting institute (government agency etc.) should be identified.
  • With only basic data, countries can start estimation of carbon stock change using the IPCC tier 1 method. Enhanced collaboration between inventory experts and soil scientists is key.                                                                                                                                             

Useful Links:

Workshop event webpage: 

Global Soil Partnership: