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The Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management

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The 5th NENA Soil Partnership meeting
01 Apr 2019 - 02 Apr 2019
Cairo, Egypt
Lucrezia Caon, GSP secretariat

Published in: Education
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The Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management

  1. 1. The Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management VGSSM Ms. Lucrezia Caon GSP Secretariat Lucrezia.caon@fao.org
  2. 2. Pillar 1: Promote sustainable management of soil resources for soil protection, conservation and sustainable productivity Pillar 2: Encourage investment, technical cooperation, policy, education, awareness and extension in soil Pillar 3: Promote targeted soil research and development focusing on identified gaps, priorities and synergies with related productive, environmental and social development actions Pillar 4: Information and Data Pillar 5: Harmonization of methods, measurements and indicator for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources
  3. 3. Sustainable Soil Management “Soil management is sustainable if the supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services provided by soil are maintained or enhanced without significantly impairing the soil functions that enable those services of biodiversity.”
  4. 4. How to promote the practice of sustainable soil management? One way is to get people (and governments) to agree on same principles and guidelines for action.
  5. 5. “Zero” order draft (ITPS) Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) Plenary Assembly For endorsement First order draft Implementation at all levels ITPS Regional Soil Partnerships workshops in 2015: needs and priorities for SSM 25th session FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) 28 September 2016 155th session FAO Council 5 December 2016
  6. 6. …the VGSSM elaborates the principles outlined in the revised World Soil Charter and addresses those soil threats reported in the Status of the World’s Soil Resources report FAO, 2017 + Principles Soil threats
  7. 7. 1980 2015 • Reflect the major policy developments and conceptual advances with relevance to soils, as had occurred in the intervening period since the adoption of the first version; • Recognize that soils are under threat and that this could seriously undermine the implementation of agreed goals and objectives for hunger eradication and sustainable development; • Stress the imperious need to reverse alarming trends; • Assist in widely disseminating soil principles and guidelines for action by all stakeholders, and therefore serve the GSP and other initiatives on soils. o generate more concrete international cooperation and activities o mobilize resources to reverse soil degradation o support effective soil conservation measures
  8. 8. FAO and ITPS, 2015 10 main soil threats
  9. 9. Minimize soil erosion Enhance soil organic matter content Foster soil nutrient balance and cycles Minimize soil sealing Prevent, minimize and mitigate soil salinization and alkalinization Preserve and enhance soil biodiversity Prevent and minimize soil contamination Prevent and minimize soil acidification Prevent and mitigate soil compaction Improve soil water management
  10. 10. What are the VGSSM? • They are of voluntary nature and are not legally binding; • They address technical aspects of SSM (also key challenges and potential solutions to address them); • Although they focus mostly on agriculture, many of the principles described have a significant influence on ecosystem services provided by managed and unmanaged soil systems To present generally accepted, practically proven and scientifically based principles to promote SSM and to provide guidance to all stakeholders on how to translate these principles into practice, be it for farming, pastoralism, forestry or more general natural resources management. Objectives The guidelines are not expected to provide detailed recommendations, but are designed to inform strategic and context-specific decision making at all relevant levels.
  11. 11. An example: the VGSSM to “minimize soil erosion” • Land-use changes such as deforestation or improper grassland-to-cropland conversion that cause removal of surface cover and loss of soil carbon should be avoided or carefully planned and appropriately implemented if unavoidable; • A cover of growing plants or other organic and non-organic residues that protects the soil surface from erosion should be maintained through implementation of appropriate measures such as mulching, minimum tillage, no-till by direct seeding with attention to reduced herbicide use, cover crops, agro-ecological approaches, controlled vehicle traffic, continuous plant cover and crop rotation, strip cropping, agroforestry, shelter belts, and appropriate stocking rates and grazing intensities; • Erosion by water on sloping and relatively steep lands should be minimized by measures that reduce runoff rates and velocity such as strip cropping, contour planting, crop rotation, intercropping, agroforestry, cross slope barriers (e.g. grass strips, contour bunds and stone lines), terrace construction and maintenance, and grassed waterways or vegetated buffer strips; • Where appropriate, riparian buffers, buffer strips, wetlands, water harvesting and cover crops should be used/installed to minimize export of soil particles and associated nutrients and contaminants from the soil system and protect the downstream areas from damaging impacts; • And erosion by wind, including dust storms, should be minimized and mitigated through vegetative (tree and shrubs) or artificial (stone walls) wind breaks to reduce wind velocity
  12. 12. Whatever the threat is, the promotion of SSM is fostered by the following core actions: - Establishment or strengthening of inclusive SSM-supportive agricultural/environmental policies; - Increasing responsible investment and positive incentives aimed at promoting sustainable soil management; - Promoting secure land tenure rights according to the VGGT; - Fostering and strengthening targeted soil research; - Preventing or minimizing soil degradation and restoring/rehabilitating degraded soils (including historically degraded soils); - Promoting effective education programmes; - Ensuring adequate inclusion of SSM in extension services; - Establishing/strengthening soil information systems; - Fostering international cooperation/collaboration on soils; - Promoting communication on SSM practices.
  13. 13. What are the VGSSM? • They are of voluntary nature and are not legally binding; • They address technical aspects of SSM (also key challenges and potential solutions to address them); • Although they focus mostly on agriculture, many of the principles described have a significant influence on ecosystem services provided by managed and unmanaged soil systems To present generally accepted, practically proven and scientifically based principles to promote SSM and to provide guidance to all stakeholders on how to translate these principles into practice, be it for farming, pastoralism, forestry or more general natural resources management. Objectives The guidelines are not expected to provide detailed recommendations, but are designed to inform strategic and context-specific decision making at all relevant levels.
  14. 14. Target audience of the VGSSM Government officials, policy makers, farmers, pastoralists, forest and land managers, extension services and agricultural advisors, development partners, civil society, private sector and, academia, etc. Translate these recommendations into concrete actions and practices to support farmers with sustainable soil management Development of national guidelines for implementation
  15. 15. Implementation of the VGSSM -Practical examples-
  16. 16. 15-17 May 2019, FAO HQ, Rome, Italy Website Concept Note Register here
  17. 17. What did they do to implement the VGSSM in Costa Rica? 1. Organization of a national workshop: a) To raise the awareness of all interested stakeholders on the importance to practice SSM b) To set the priorities on the 6 main crops in the country; establishment of a working group per each one of the selected crops. Each working group was composed of 10-12 people from all sectors – policy, industry, scientists, farmers, etc.. They worked on i. Identification of the top 10 soil threats per each crop ii. The surface area affected by each threat and its impacts on the yield were scored from 1 to 3 iii. Identification of the causes of the top 3 soil threats per each crop iv. VGSSM + local practices = find country specific solutions v. Online survey asking how each of the participant could contribute to implementing the found solutions 2. Use the results of the workshop for decision making at the national level and call for coordinated actions between policy, communication and research Final goal: Develop sectoral plans, strategies and policies in line with the VGSSM
  18. 18. What did they do to implement the VGSSM in Thailand? 1. Organization of a multi-stakeholder national workshop to: • Identify barriers, challenges, and opportunities for the promotion of SSM in the country; • Identify core topics of attention in the promotion of SSM at the country level: - Soil fertility (nutrients management) - Salinity - Soil management in highlands - The King’s Theory • Identify priority areas of intervention as well as actions and stakeholder groups to involve. 2. Use the results of the workshop for project proposal writing and the inclusion of the identified activities in the national action plan
  19. 19. What did they do to implement the VGSSM in the Maghreb region? 1. Organization of a regional, multi-stakeholder workshop to: • Present available tools for the practice of Sustainable Soil and Land Management; • Identify transboundary issues on soil and land with related barriers, challenges, and opportunities for the promotion of SSM; • Identify priority areas of intervention as well as actions and stakeholder groups to involve.
  20. 20. 16 regional priorities were identified. Per each of them a work plan was developed as following:
  21. 21. What did they do to implement the VGSSM in the Maghreb region? 1. Organization of a regional, multi-stakeholder workshop to: • Present available tools for the practice of Sustainable Soil and Land Management; • Identify transboundary issues on soil and land with related barriers, challenges, and opportunities for the promotion of SSM; • Identify priority areas of intervention as well as actions and stakeholder groups to involve. 2. Use the results of the workshop for project proposal writing and the inclusion of the identified activities in the national action plan: - 2 Concept Notes for the implementation of the presented tools and identified activities will be written in the first quarter of 2019 - A Maghreb Soil Partnership will be established
  22. 22. What did they do to implement the VGSSM in Iran? 1. Organization of a multi-stakeholder national workshop to: • Identify barriers, challenges, and opportunities for the promotion of SSM in the country; • Identify core topics of attention in the promotion of SSM at the country level: - National soil information and monitoring systems - Awareness and education - Policy and extension services • Identify priority areas of intervention as well as actions and stakeholder groups to involve. 2. Use the results of the workshop for project proposal writing and the inclusion of the identified activities in the national action plan
  23. 23. Thanks for your attention

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