15 February 2021
Citizens have three months to contribute with their suggestions on soil health strategy. While EU Mission comes to Italy

Soil Strategy: EU citizens asked to share their views

The three-month open consultation for public suggestions has begun. Biodiversity is crucial for soil health. The EU Mission is coming to Italy

by Matteo Cavallito

 

You have time until April 27th to take part to a public consultation on European Soil Strategy launched by the EU Commission. Just like other similar actions on environmental sustainability issues, the initiative aims to involve “citizens and organisations called to contribute to the preparation of the Strategy and share their views on potential objectives and actions”. On several occasions the Commission has already stressed to consider soil protection as a priority under the Green Deal.

Without soil protection, EU goals at risk

That’s a well known argument: “A lack of a comprehensive and coherent policy framework to protect land and soil may limit Europe’s ability to achieve its goals including the Green Deal” says the Commission, which shares a view already expressed by the European Environmental Agency. In Europe – where the land at high or very high risk of desertification has increased by almost 180,000 km2 in less than 10 years – soil degradation is an obvious source of concern. Desertification, sealing, contamination and erosion are just some of the main threats. And the list of their consequences – including the increase of CO2 emissions, hydrogeological instability, loss of ecosystem services and food safety concerns – is equally disturbing.

Biodiversity at the centre of the Strategy

Early this year, the soil plan was adopted as part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. It was an inevitable choice, according to Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius. “A quarter of our planet’s biodiversity is present in soil”  he said. ” We must equip the European Union with a robust soil policy that will allow us to reach our ambitious climate, biodiversity and food security goals”. By placing the protection of biodiversity at the core of the strategy, the EU is also embracing FAO‘s call for globally coordinated initiatives on the issue. Over the years, Brussels has signed a number of international agreements on this matter, starting with the 1992 UN Convention for Biological Diversity.

EU Mission Soil in Italy

Promoted by the Mission Board Soil Health and Food, the EU Mission Caring for Soil is Caring for Life has set the ambitious goal to ensure that 75% of soils are healthy by 2030. This issue will be the main topic of the next webinar for the Italian audience scheduled on February 24th from 9.30 am. The event, organized by the Ministry of University and Research in cooperation with APRE (Agency for the Promotion of European Research), University of Siena’s Santa Chiara Lab and Re Soil Foundation, aims to “to raise awareness on the goals and developments of the Mission” and to promote a new dialogue as well between actors called to work together on the road to sustainable soil management, including researchers, policy makers, entrepreneurs and citizens.