Specialist Group on Soils and Desertification of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
  • Name: Specialist Group on Soils and Desertification of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Natural resource (1 hits),

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September 2011

Protecting soils for our Common Future

A call for action

Participants of an international meeting at the German Federal Environment Agency, Berlin in September 2011:

Noting that soils are the basis for life on earth., and that food, feed, fibre and bioenergy pro- duction as well as the entire terrestrial biodiversity directly depend on them, Further noting that soils are inter alia the medium of plant growth, sources of terrestrial net primary production, reservoirs of gene pools, moderators of climate, sinks of atmospheric car- bon, reservoirs of plant nutrients and cycling, and providers of clean water,

Taking into account that soils have been taken for granted for too long, and that over the last few decades they have been further degraded and desertified by misuse and mismanagement, thereby jeopardizing this essential finite Natural resource and its ecosystem services,

Recognizing that inter alia Millennium Development Goal number one, to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, Millennium Development Goal number seven to ensure environmental sustainability, the global environmental targets to combat climate change and to stem the loss of biodiversity will not be reached, unless there is a fundamental change to the unsustainable use and management of soils around the globe,

Acknowledging that although soil degradation in many regions of the world is obvious, there is still a significant lack of scientific knowledge, about its extent, regional distribution and trends,

In the light of the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 29 September 2011 on developing a common EU position ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable De- velopment (Rio+20) and noting in particular clause 52, that the European Parliament?: Re- grets the slow progress of negotiations and commitments in the context of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); considers that soil is a scarce resource and that land de- gradation and land use change require a global response; calls for concrete action, efficient measures and monitoring, especially as regards the production of biofuels;?,

Recognizing the fundamental role of fertile soil for sustainable development and a green econ- omy,

Urges the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20 Conference) in 2012:

1. To recognize that a coordinated global science and policy and legal approach is there- fore required to ensure that soils are used, managed and restored according to prin- ciples of ecosystem resilience;

2. To initiate action to promote scientific study, legal protection and policy responses on the sustainable use of soils on a global basis and, to this end, request the Executive Di- rector of UNEP and the Director General of FAO, in conjunction with the Executive Sec- retary of the UNCCD:

a. To prepare, at the earliest date possible, a comprehensive global report on the state of world soils, on the basis of the most current scientific information, in or- der to overcome existing gaps in scientific knowledge and to provide policy makers with better information and scientific advice for soil policies;

b. To organize an ongoing authoritative and globally agreed scientific assessment on the state of the world?s soils, with a complementary commitment to set and monitor quantitative targets to prevent degradation and restore degraded soils, with a view to providing comprehensive ongoing information and targets to pol- icy makers, land managers and other stakeholders on soil quality, to improve food security and enhance other ecosystem services, with the long-term aim of eradicating poverty, eliminating malnutrition and promoting ecological, eco- nomic and social/cultural sustainability as the basis of a green economy.

List of Participants

Workshop "Towards a global agreement on sustainable soil management"

at the Federal German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt/UBA)

26. September 2011 Berlin/Germany

Bismarckplatz 1, Room 1065

No Name of Participant Participant's Organisation Function
1. Boer, Ben The Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law,

Sydney Law School,

The University of Sydney
Emeritus Professor in Environmental Law;

Co-Chair, IUCN Commission on Environmental Law and WCPA Specialist Group on Protected Areas Law
2. Elhers, Knut German Federal Environmental Agency/Umweltbundesamt (UBA)

Unit "Soil Use and Cultivation, Agriculture"
Scientific Officer
3. Flasbarth, Jochen German Federal Environmental Agency/Umweltbundesamt (UBA) President
4. Ginzky, Harald German Federal Environment Agency/Umweltbundesamt (UBA)

Unit "General Aspects of Water Quality and Management, Groundwater Protection
Scientific Officer
5. Glante, Frank German Federal Environment Agency/Umweltbundesamt (UBA)

Unit "Spoil State, Soil Monitoring"
Head of Unit
6. Gnacadja, Luc United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Executive Secretary
7. Irmer, Ulrich German Federal Environment Agency/Umweltbundesamt (UBA)

Department "Water and Soil"
Head of Department
8. Lal, Rattan Ohio State University Distinguished Unversity Professor of Soil Science

Director Carbon Management Sequestration Center
9. Lorenz, Klaus Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) e.V.,

Global Soil Forum
Research Fellow
10. Makeschin, Franz Technical University Dresden

Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology,
Professor of Soil Science and Site Ecology

Head of the Commission for Soil Protection at UBA;

Acting head of CIPSEM for the Faculty of Forest, Geo Hydrosciences
11. Montanarella, Luca Unit "Land Management and Natural Hazards"/"SOIL action",

Institute for Environment and Sustainability,

Joint Research Centre,

European Commission
Action Leader in Soil
12. Mrema, Elizabeth United Nations Enviornment Programme (UNDP) Executive Secretary UNEP/CMS
13. Nkonya, Ephraim International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Senior Research Fellow
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