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The Global Symposium on Soil Erosion (GSER19)‘Stop soil erosion, Save our future’ will be held  from 15-17 May 2019

The Global Symposium on Soil Erosion (GSER19) will be a high level science-policy meeting, held 15 – 17 May 2019, at FAO HQ in Rome, Italy.  GSER19 aims to translate scientific and policy evidence into de­cisions and actions to minimize soil erosion for increased food security, ecosystem services, and promote the restoration of eroded sites.

The Global Symposium on Soil Erosion (GSER19), ‘Stop soil erosion, Save our future’ will be held  from 15-17 May 2019, at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, Italy. This science-policy meeting is co-organized by the UN FAO and its Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), together with the Science-Policy Interface (SPI) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture.

The objective of GSER 19 is to establish a common platform to present and discuss the latest information on the status of interventions and innovations in the field of soil erosion and related land management.

Soil erosion is one of the ten major soil threats identified in the 2015 Status of the World’s Soil Resources report. It is defined as the removal of soil particles, soil aggregates, organic matter and nutrients from the land surface through three major pathways: water, wind and tillage. Soil erosion can affect soil quality by removing the highly fertile topsoil and exposing the subsurface horizon that has low organic matter content. This process can result in soil structure degradation, nutrient loss, poor microbial activity and even soil salinity.

Soil erosion poses a major threat to global food security and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As confirmed at the UNFCCC COP23 in 2018, soil health is key to combating climate change. In this context, soil erosion control can be related to the achievement of SDG13 and further extended to the SDGs 2, 3, 6 and 15 on food security, clean water provision, desertification and halting biodiversity loss, respectively.

GSER19 aims to translate scientific and policy evidence into decisions and actions to minimize soil erosion for increased food security, ecosystem services, and promote the restoration of eroded sites.

GSER19 will produce a document highlighting the scientific evidence on the status of soil erosion, its impacts and an agenda for action in the framework of achieving the SDGs. Registration is open till 8.5.2019. Find the concept note and the draft agenda of the Symposium.

Key figures on soil erosion

  • It can take up to 1 000 years to produce just 2-3 cm of soil.
  • 33% of the Earth's soils are already degraded and over 90% could become degraded by 2050 (FAO and ITPS, 2015; IPBES, 2018).
  • The equivalent of one soccer pitch of soil is eroded every five seconds. (FAO and ITPS, 2015).
  • Estimated rates of accelerated soil erosion on arable or intensively grazed lands are 100-1 000 times higher than natural erosion rates.
  • Soil erosion can lead up to 50% loss in crop yields. 
  •  The economic cost of soil degradation for the European Union is estimated to be in the order of tens of billions of euros annually.