A Global Soil Partnership was launched at the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) on 7 September 2011. It will help to implement the provisions of the World Soil Charter, adopted in 1982, and to raise awareness and motivate action by decision-makers on the importance of soils for food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation. As such it will complement the work of the Global Water Partnership.
The partnership is also aimed at providing a favourable policy environment and technical solutions for soil protection and management and at helping mobilize resources and expertise for joint activities and programmes.
FAO states in its news release that "the Global Soil Partnership will complement the 15-year-old Global Water Partnership initiated by the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank in 1996 to coordinate the development and management of water, land, and related resources in order to maximise economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of vital environmental systems."
GWP Executive Secretary Dr Ania Grobicki spoke at the launch in Rome, emphasizing the importance of a new global partnership coming together to protect the world's soil, as soil is a non-renewable resource. "Soil and water are both essential resources which ensure food security for people everywhere, and in many places they are both under threat. The Global Soil Partnership can provide the visibility and advocacy needed to raise the issue of sustainable soil management to the highest level," she said.
"The lessons learned from 15 years of GWP include the necessity to have an inclusive partnership linking stakeholders at all levels, from farmers and water managers to the scientists and engineers with the necessary knowledge, to politicians and decision-makers," she added.
Following the launch of the GSP, Dr Grobicki observed that the draft terms of reference for this new partnership state: “The Global Soil Partnership mirrors the Global Water Partnership and may be based on similar principles and working procedures.” She noted that this is a tribute to the successes of GWP, and that going forward, GWP will link closely with the GSP to help build food security and climate resilience in countries worldwide.
Read the full FAO Press release.
A Memorandum of Understanding between GWP and FAO was signed on this occasion, in the presence of representatives of the Member States of FAO.
Global Water Partnership Executive Secretary Dr Ania Grobicki signs MoU with FAO Assistant Director General Dr Alexander Muller, Natural Resources and Environment Department ©FAO Giulio Napolitano