'We urgently need healthy soils to ensure essential services they provide,' Ban says on World Soil Day

5 December 2016

Marking World Soil Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed the importance of healthy soils, adding that “sustainable management systems and practices will unlock the full potential of soils to support food production, store and supply clean water, preserve biodiversity, sequester more carbon and increase resilience to a changing climate.”

In his message on the Day, Mr. Ban encouraged the international community to optimize the use of soil now and preserve and protect it in the long-term, because the sustainable soil management can also contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The theme of the 2016 edition of World Soil Day is Soils and pulses, a symbiosis for life. Pulses, such as dry beans, peas and lentils, can boost soil health while supporting healthier and nutritious diets, and can also fix atmospheric nitrogen in their roots. In addition, pulses combine with soil in a unique symbiosis that protects the environment, enhances productivity, contributes to adapting to climate change and provides fundamental nutrients to the soil and subsequent crops. Finally, pulses also reduce the need to apply external fertilizer.

The Secretary-General also highlighted recommendations on ways to protect and sustainably manage soils in the recently endorsed Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management developed by the Global Soil Partnership. The guidelines will contribute to improving the health of the soil and increasing its potential to support mitigation and adaptation actions in a changing climate.

“On World Soil Day, I call for greater attention to the pressing issues affecting soils, including climate change, antimicrobial resistance, soil-borne diseases, contamination, nutrition and human health,” concluded Mr. Ban, urging global efforts to build on the International Year of Soils (2015) and this year's International Year of Pulses, and all the activities supporting sustainable soil management to generate more hectares of healthy soils everywhere.

 

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