Global Soil Partnership


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Global Soil Partnership’s vision - a sustainable and productive use of the soil resources of the world and sustainable agricultural production is the core message of the presentation.
It addresses the key role of soil resources for sustainable land management and sustainable development, soil a finite resource, the impact of human activity on soil, critical soil issues in relation to food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, soil productivity, soil degradation – status and trends, current and future challenges, future food demand, population growth, water scarcity and outlooks.

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  • Enabling conditions:remove perverse incentives; improve land tenure and access to resources; strengthen land and water institutions/ collaboration; efficient support services- knowledge exchange, adaptive research, rural finance; access to markets; flexibility to adapt to change.
  • Global Soil Partnership

    1. GLOBAL SOIL PARTNERSHIP Sally Bunning and Ronald Rojas Vargas Land and Water Division, FAO Rome Prepared for the Town Hall Event European Geosciences Union 24 April 2012 in Vienna
    2. Outline• Why are Soils so important?• What are the Challenges: past, present and future?• Global Soil Partnership • Why? • Vision and mission • Pillars of action • Governance • Status of its establishment• Regional Soil Partnerships• How can EGU scientists/members contribute to the GSP?
    3. 1. Why are Soils so Important?
    4. Why soils? Soils are a complex and strategic resource:Soils are very diverse and formed over generations; there are many soilclasses. The soil properties, health and functions depend on mineral andbiological complexes and are related to climate, terrain and land use. Soilsare the basis for food and agriculture and provide many ecosystemsservices
    5. Why Soils? Soils are Finite on a Human Time Scale• Worldwide soil is being eroded (carried away by wind and runoff) much faster than it is being replenished. In Somalia: an average of 100 tons/ha of topsoil per year is lost (SWALIM, 2009).• However, natural soil formation from the mineralisation of rock and breakdown of organic matter into stable humus is a very slow process - to form 2 - 2.5 cm of soils, requires approx. 1000 years.
    6. Why soils?Soils provide multiple Ecosystem Services (Source: Black,2011)
    7. What are the Challenges for Soils: Past, Present and Future?
    8. Soil Productivity and Degradation• Over some 50 years, world annual production of cereals coarse grains, roots and tubers, pulses and oil crops has grown from 1.8 million tonnes to 4.6 billion tonnes.• These huge gains in agricultural production and productivity were often accompanied by negative effects on agriculture’s natural resource base (externalities)• The land degradation effects are so serious that they jeopardize future productive potential: soil degradation and loss of biodiversity, salinization of irrigated areas, over- extraction of groundwater, build up of pollutants and pest resistance…..• The declining quality of land and water resources available for food, feed, fibre, timber and fuel production has major implications for future food security and sustainable livelihoods.• Many of today’s soil and crop, livestock and forest management systems are unsustainable: – extreme overuse of fertilizer in the EU  serious nitrate build up in water resources that threatens vast areas. – extreme under-use of organic and mineral fertilizer in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa  soil nutrients exported with harvested crops are not being replenished, leading to soil degradation and declining yields.
    9. Soil degradation status and trends (Global land degradation information system)• Soils of varying degradation status (low to high) show increasing degradation trends (GLADIS, 2011): – Water and wind erosion – Nutrient and SOM depletion – Acidification – Salinisation – Compaction – Contamination
    10. CURRENT AND FUTURE CHALLENGES FOR MANAGING SOILS - In 50 years the world’s cultivated area has grown by 12%; the irrigated area has doubled; agricultural production has grown 2.5 to 3 times, B thanks to significant increase in yield of major crops. - But, global achievements in production in some regions are associated with degradation of land and water resources and deterioration of ecosystem goods and services. - Towards 2050, rising population and incomes are expected to call for 70% more food production globally, and up to 100% more in developing countries (relative to 2009). Yet, the distribution of land and water resources does not favour countries that need to produce more in the future. - The largest share of increased agricultural output will most likely come from intensification of production on existing agricultural land. This will require widespread adoption of
    11. SYSTEMS AT RISK (SOLAW) B - A series of land and water systems now face the risk of progressive breakdown of their productive capacity (driven by demographic pressure and unsustainable agricultural practices).
    13. CURRENT AND FUTURE CHALLENGES FOR MANAGING SOILS - However, the potential exists to expand production efficiently to address food security and poverty while B limiting negative impacts on other ecosystem functions. - Actions include not just technical options but also a set of enabling conditions to promote sustainable intensification and reduce production risks/constraints (remove perverse incentives; improve land tenure/access to resources; strengthen land and water institutions and support services- knowledge exchange, adaptive research, etc.) - National budgets and ODA allocated to land and water needs to be substantively increased (reverse –ve trend) - There is also a need for much more effective integration of international policies and initiatives dealing with land and water management.
    16. FUTURE CHALLENGES Growing population demands:•Healthy soils to increase food production and ensure food security (crop,livestock, forest, fuel), support rural development & reduce poverty. B• Diverse farming systems to maintain supporting and regulating servicesand to provide healthy diets & nutrition• Actions to reduce post harvest losses and food waste.
    17. FUTURE CHALLENGES Growing Water scarcity:Climate change scenarios predict reduction ofrainfall in some semi-arid regions and erratic,unreliable rainfall in many areas. Is much of the water lost as runoff and evaporation (as above)? Or is the soil ready to capture and retain water ( as below)? Soil and vegetation management practices are key to efficient water use in crop, grazing and forest systems
    18. FUTURE CHALLENGES Climate change adaptation and mitigation:• Under climate change scenarios, the provision of environmental systems to meet demands of the growing population remains a challenge• Soils play a key role in climate change adaptation (resilient, productive farming systems, efficient use of water) and mitigation (C sequestration; reduced GHG emissions)
    19. FUTURE CHALLENGES Soils under increasing Pressure Degradation threatens this vital resource; Limited area of fertile soils is under increasing pressure; capacity to continue to increase food production for the growing population is diminishing. Population Urban expansion,growth and Food mining and loss of security productive landCompetition for Demand on soilswater and water for bioenergy scarcity productionClimate change Soiladaptation and contamination- mitigation heavy metals, Effects on soil health and soil life (soil wastes biodiversity) and ecosystem functions /services- hidden role of soils
    20. 2. Global Soil Partnership
    21. Soils situation today: Major concern• Soil data - fragmented, partly outdated (fertility, SOC,…), heterogeneous- difficult to compare, not easy accessible, not responding to users demands.• Soil capacities - increasingly a scarce resource (loss of soil expertise & skills).• Soil knowledge & research - fragmented (fertility, CC, ecology), domain of soil scientists, not accessible for use by various disciplines/for decision making, not tailored to address problems/development agendas of today.• Awareness & investments in soil management - extremely low compared to the needs that soil is a precious resources & requires special care from its users.• Soil policy: Often perceived as a 2nd-tier priority; lack of international governance body to support coordinated global action on their management.Need for compatible and coordinated soil policies – A unified and authoritativevoice is needed to better coordinate efforts and pool limited resources (foragriculture, forestry, food security, UNCCD, CBD, UNFCCC, disaster & droughtmanagement, land competition, rural & urban land use planning & development).
    22. Why a Global Soil Partnership ?A Global soil Partnership (complementing the Global waterpartnership) can bring due recognition and concerted actionwith stakeholders at international, national and local levels toprotect and sustain soil and water resources as the basis forsustainable agriculture and food security.It will provide a platform and intergovernmental mechanismfor updating and sharing knowledge on soils, for developingcapacities of users and technical institutions and providinginformation and evidence for strengthened policies andinvestment programmes.
    23. Why a Global Soil Partnership?The GSP was launched by FAO, with the support of EC-JRC, in Sept. 2011 and its Termsof reference are to be endorsed and guided by the Committee on Agriculture in May2012 to:• Improve global coordination /governance of the world’s soil resources through an intergovernmental mechanism;• Put national and regional needs in the centre.• Involve local institutions and communities to create ownership.• Catalyse effective and coordinated soils 200 participants; 100 countries policies and investments to guarantee 120 organizations; (int./reg./ healthy productive soils for food security and national institutes; soil science sustained ecosystem services. networks; NGOs; universities research;farmers associations)
    24. GSP Vision and Mission• The Vision of the GSP is the improvement of the global governance of the limited soil resources of the planet in order to guarantee healthy and productive soils for a food secure world, as well as sustain other ecosystem services on which our livelihoods and societies depend including water regulation and supply, climate regulation, biodiversity conservation and other cultural services.• The Mission of the GSP is to develop capacities, build on best available science, and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and technologies between stakeholders, for sustainable management of soil resources at all levels with a view to enhancing food security, protecting ecosystem services, and contributing to poverty alleviation in an era of increasing human demands and climate change.
    25. GSP Proposed Pillars of Action1. Promote sustainable management of soil resources and improved global governance for soil protection and sustainable productivity;2. Encourage investment, technical cooperation, policy, education awareness and extension in soils;3. Promote targeted soil research and development focusing on identified gaps, priorities and synergies among economic/productive, environmental and social dimensions;4. Enhance the quality and availability of soil data and information: collection, analysis, validation, reporting, monitoring, integration with other disciplines;5. Harmonize and establish voluntary guidelines of methods, measurements and indicators for soil protection and sustainable management.
    26. Proposed structure of the GSP Open to all governments, relevant stakeholders and organizations. ITPS- 25 high level scientists providing scientific & technical advice to GSP & FAO. (selected and appointed through country representatives to FAO). RSPs are fundamentalSecretariat will implement the GSP through (composed of any type ofRegional Partnerships (hosted at FAO; part of its regional/national bodiesfunding from FAO’s regular program). working on soils).
    27. Progress in GSP establishment 2. Towards RIO+20 (Unified Soils1. A Technical Working Group (TWG) was side event, June 2012).established (Oct. 2011) to prepare the draft - GSP is included in 1st draft of Finalof the Terms of Reference for the RIO+20 document (support ofestablishment of the GSP. 76 voluntary partners).members worldwide reviewed the working - 2 unified Soil Side events will beversion of ToR and a consolidated version conducted at Rio+20 to position soilswas prepared end Feb. 2012 in discussion at the highest level policy agenda.&d agreement with Regional Chairs of - Under the GSP, FAO is starting thecountry Permanent Reps. to FAO. process for:2 page version TOR prepared for • Recognition by UN System of theconsideration / endorsement by COAG World Soil Day(May 2012). • Implementation of Global Soil Week 2012. • Recognition of the International Year of Soils 2015.
    28. Progress in GSP establishment3. Networking and Actions to address soils issues in the fieldFAO is funding LOAs with a leading institution in the regions to set up institutionalnetworks as basis of the Regional Soil Partnerships and start a process ofdeveloping soil information systems in which capacity development is priority:•Asia: coordinated by Soil Science institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences; 1st meeting -16countries & many institutions  Nanjing Communiqué (11 Feb 2012)• MENA: coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture Jordan and ICARDA; 1st meeting earlyApril; in addition to an Amman communiqué agreed to develop an FAO TCP project• Latin America: coordinated by EMBRAPA, Brazil, & Argentina; 1st meeting 16-20 April2012;.• Africa: to be developed in consultation with TSBF-CIAT, ICRAF , Afnet network and otherpartners The RSPs will prioritise and implement the GSP plans of actions, while addressing local needs with local experts and fostering south-south cooperation and collaboration (e.g., Global soil forum etc.)
    29. ASIAN SOIL PARTNERSHIPPriorities for Asia (Nanjing, April 2012)• to share and transfer knowledge & newtechnology within and beyond the region• to provide soil information to all those withinterest in sustainable use of soils and landresources• to build consistent and updated Asian soilsinformation systems and start to contributeto global soil information through initiativessuch as GSM• to train new generations of experts in soilscience and land management
    30. Progress in GSP establishment4. GSP Workshop "Towards Global Soil Information: activities within the GEO Task on Global Soil Data” 20-23 March 2012, FAO HQ Rome. The workshop aim was to review the state of the art of tools and techniques for mapping soils at global and regional scales as an input for defining future activities for implementation under the GSP. Soil data/information user demands were also reviewed.
    31. Town Hall Event Discussion (Vienna 24 April 2012)How can members of the European Geosciences Union contribute to the GSP?
    32. How can EGU members contribute to GSPWe invite soil scientists/ institutes/members of EGU to suggestHow could you contribute to the GSP Pillars for soil protection, sustainablemanagement and food security in the region and globally?What in your view are the main needs and priorities: 1. to promote sustainable soil management (What practices? Where?) 2. to improve soil information & its use (What gaps? How/Where to monitor/survey? How to integrate with other disciplines?) 3. to enhance investment, technical cooperation, policy, education awareness and extension in soils (what support?) 4. to promote targeted applied soil research (What gaps and priority issues in the region? How to address economic, environmental & social impacts?); 5. to develop and promote harmonised guidelines, methods, measurements and indicators (What is needed for sustainable soil management and for soil protection?).