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GSP, UNCCD Spearhead Global Soil Organic Carbon Map

Efforts to enhance synergies between the scientific advisory bodies of the GSP and UNCCD took shape at the third Global Soil Week in April 2015, during a joint session to explore the contribution of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target on land degradation neutrality to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Global Soil Partnership (GSP) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Science-Policy Interface (SPI) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) are coordinating efforts to launch the first Global Soil Organic Carbon Map during World Soil Day celebrations on 5 December 2017. With several other soil data initiatives also close to completion, the GSP looks to establish a global soil monitoring and governance framework to track and forecast the condition of the Earth’s soil resources.

At its second meeting in November 2016, the International Network of Soil Information Institutions (INSII) worked to finalize several data products, including the proposed Global Soil Information System (GLOSIS), SoilSTAT soil monitoring framework, and the GSP Data Facility. Draft decisions on GLOSIS and the GSP Soil Data Facility will be presented for endorsement by the 5th GSP Plenary Assembly, meeting on 20-22 June 2017.

As part of their ongoing partnership, the scientific bodies of the GSP and UNCCD, which are the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) and the SPI respectively, convened a special technical session on soil organic carbon mapping as part of the INSII workshop. The workshop recognized that the process of developing a global map would be challenging and would require intensive collaboration among soil information institutions. It highlighted common approaches to develop mapping specifications and methodologies, and reviewed examples of national soil organic carbon maps that will feed into the global map.

Efforts to enhance synergies between the scientific advisory bodies of the GSP and UNCCD took shape at the third Global Soil Week in April 2015, where the ITPS and SPI held a joint session to explore the contribution of the SDG target on land degradation neutrality (LDN) to climate change mitigation and adaptation. With soils constituting the largest store of terrestrial carbon, these monitoring tools are of interest to stakeholders working on climate-related goals as well as the soil- and land-related targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The session identified common themes in the work of the two bodies and resolved to explore further collaboration on the topic of soil carbon sequestration.

GSP Data initiatives fall under Pillar 4, which aims to enhance the quantity and quality of soil data and information through data collection (generation), analysis, validation, reporting, monitoring and integration with other disciplines. The GSP Pillar 4 Implementation Plan envisions the development of a global soil information system that incorporates data from global, regional and national soil data, and aims to make “significant efforts towards a new global soil map.”

[GSP Press Release] [Workshop Report of the 2nd INSII Meeting] [GSP Pillar 4 Implementation Plan: Towards a Global Soil Information System] [IISD RS Report of the 3rd Global Soil Week]

21-23 March 2017 - FAO HQ - Rome, Italy

The Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC17) will be a scientific meeting, held over three days at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, on 21-23 March 2017 with 300-500 participants representing all geographical regions and countries of the world.

Soils constitute the largest store of terrestrial carbon. When managed using Sustainable Soil Management (SSM) techniques, soils can play an important role in climate change adaptation and mitigation and enhance the provision of ecosystem services by storing carbon (carbon sequestration) and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon will contribute to the efforts of ending hunger and malnutrition, climate change adaptation, reversing land degradation, and overall sustainable development while linking sustainable soil management and climate change mitigation and adaptation.