Soil health plays a critical role in ensuring global food security. Without healthy soils, the world’s food supply would be significantly reduced, which would lead to food shortages, increased prices, and a decline in human health. This was highlighted in the eighteenth session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) that happened in Dakar, Senegal from 12 to 16 September 2022.
Members acknowledged the role soil protection and sustainable management plays in the fulfilment of the SDGs, hence the employment of soil governance. Some of the other highlights noted were that poor soil health can lead to a range of environmental problems, including soil erosion, nutrient depletion, and water pollution. These issues can have serious implications for food security, as they can lead to reduced crop yields and poor soil quality.
To address these challenges, the AMCEN report recommends a range of actions, including the promotion of sustainable land management practices, the development of policies to support soil conservation and rehabilitation, and the establishment of networks to share information and best practices.
The World Food Forum, scheduled for October 2023, is expected to bring together experts and stakeholders from around the world to discuss ways to improve food systems and ensure food security for all. One of the main topics of discussion is likely to be soil health and its impact on food systems.
We are thrilled to partner with clients who are at the forefront of championing for soil health as a critical component of global food security. These clients understand the importance of investing in sustainable agricultural practices that improve soil fertility, reduce soil degradation, and increase crop yields.
Soil health is expected to be a key highlight of UNEA 6, given its critical role in supporting biodiversity, food security, and sustainable agriculture. With more than a third of the world’s soil already degraded, the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, declared the International Year of Soils (IYS 2015), with December 5th designated as World Soil Day.
The primary aim of the IYS was to increase global awareness of the critical role of soils in food security, agriculture, climate change mitigation, poverty reduction, and sustainable development. By highlighting the importance of healthy soils and promoting sustainable land use practices, the IYS 2015 sought to encourage individuals and organizations around the world to take action to protect and improve the health of our soils for future generations.
Following the International Year of Soils 2015, the International Union of Soil Scientists declared 2015-2024 as the International Decade of Soils, representing a sustained effort to promote the critical importance of soils in sustainable development. This extended decade serves as an opportunity to build on the achievements of the International Year of Soils and to further raise global awareness of the vital role of soils in supporting life on earth.
Soil health is critical for food security, and it is essential that we take action to promote healthy soils and sustainable land management practices. The upcoming World Food Forum provides an excellent opportunity to discuss these issues and work towards solutions that can ensure food security for all.