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Reverse in rate of soil degradation

Photo credit: UN News Centre

A farmer plants acacia seedlings in Liguere, Senegal. Photo: FAO/Seyllou Diallo

At end of International Year of Soils, UN chief appeals for reverse in rate of soil degradation

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is marking the secondWorld Soil Day and the end of the International Year of Soils with an appeal to reverse the current rate of soil degradation because of expanding cities, deforestation, unsustainable land use and management practices, pollution, overgrazing and climate change.

“The challenge before us is clear,” Mr. Ban said in his message on the Day, noting that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that about 33 per cent of global soils are already degraded. “This trend must be reversed through sustainable soil management practices,” he said.

The UN chief went on to say that “sustainable soil management is fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – many of which reflect the centrality of soils to sustain life, food, and water.

The UN General Assembly declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils, which aimed to create full awareness of civil society and decision makers about the fundamental roles of soils for human’s life. The Year also sought to achieve full recognition of the prominent contributions of soils to food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, essential ecosystem services, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

“The multiple roles of soils often go unnoticed,” according to José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General, who said that “soils don’t have a voice, and few people speak out for them. They are our silent ally in food production.”

Read the full article: UN News Centre

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.