The Global Soil Week (GSW) is a platform and process to bring together a diverse range of actors to initiate and strengthen policies and actions on sustainable soil management and responsible land governance. The biennial global conferences held between 2012 and 2017 was designed to bring together a broad cross-section of actors from the research, policy, and practice spheres in order to raise the profile of soil issues in development policies and programmes and identify ways to translate global targets on sustainable land management into feasible actions at the local level.
The GSW was initiated by Klaus Töpfer, founding Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam and former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. In 2017, with support from its partners, the GSW moved from its base at IASS to TMG Research, with the objective of creating an independent global platform.
The objective of the current work of the GSW (2020-2023) is to strengthen the profile of soil and land resources as a fundamental pillar of sustainable development. A key entry point is supporting efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goal 15 target of achieving a land degradation neutral world. These efforts build on a decision on land tenure adopted by the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in 2019. Referencing the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, the decision positions people and vulnerable groups at the centre of the Convention’s agenda, and recognises the urgency of addressing land governance issues.
Ultimately, however, progress on this ambitious decision will depend on its implementation at the national and sub-national levels. For this, effective follow up, review, and reporting processes are essential ito ensure transparency and accountability, and safeguard the legitimate land rights of smallholder farmers, indigenous communities, women, and other marginalised groups. Unfortunately, this important step is often overlooked because of various methodological and practical challenges. To bridge these gaps, this project seeks to enhance collaboration with civil society organisations working on responsible land governance issues, who have amassed a vast array of procedural knowledge and cannot only provide vital and meaningful expertise in monitoring and reporting, but also support parties in implementing land degradation neutrality measures that are in line with the land tenure decision.
Archive of Global Soil Week reports by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin