MUN ACADEMY ATTENDED CFS 44 SIDE EVENT: THE VOLUNTARY GUIDELINES FOR SUSTAINABLE SOIL MANAGEMENT (VGSSM) FOR THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A ZERO HUNGER WORLD

The event was organized by the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the European Commission (EC) and the World Farmers’ Organization (WFO). Hea

lthy soils are the basis of healthy food production and since ten major threats regarding soil functioning have been found, it is difficult to have adequate measures to solve this issue. Last year, the FAO constituency approved the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management and this should result in achieving the nexus between sustainable nutrition and soil fertility.

Climate change is affecting different regions of the world which have been undergoing droughts and climatic changes. Competition for natural resources is also impacting food production. Therefore, to achieve the 2030 Agenda SDGs, we have to change diets and produce healthy food in a sustainable way.

The Soils Resources Report says that 33% of land is lacking nutrients and it is a severe global issue. To resolve the matter, FAO documents have been produced in the framework of the GSP and these documents should push governments to follow the voluntary guidelines. Indeed, these documents contain policies about soil development and management.

 

The VGSSM have been introduced through an inclusive process which started at the regional level. The objective of them is to promote sustainable soil management and provide inputs for it.

In the examples discussed on how to minimize soil erosion some actions such these were stressed: changing patterns in land use, avoiding carbon as a soil nutrient, targeting erosion by water, wind and covering crops. The guidelines are meant to provide strategies to state parties, government officials, policy makers and advisors.

 

Ms. Cristina Grandi from IFOAM stated that the essence of the word organic resides in the soil where the food is growing. During the Second World War, farmers in EU understood that chemical fertilizers destroyed the soil, as a consequence it was better not to use it. Without fertilizers the soil becomes healthier and consumers also will buy organic food because it is known to be healthier. Statistics say that in 2016 the market for organic food was 18 million dollars’ worth.

 

Ms. Anna Benedetti from CREA said that Italy is a very vulnerable territory, in fact it adopted several legislations about the soil. The problem about these legislations was that they did not include specific treatment of soil in the different territories. All territories have specific characteristics and a general legislation is not enough. Cooperation with local professional organizations at the national level would help the creation of specific guidelines.

 

Mr. Luis Ceciliano, Costa Rica Representative to the UN, focused on the importance of crops such as coffee and sugar. Agroforestry has been used in Costa Rica to ensure food security and nutrition. The national congress considered the VGSSM a priority, and this has led to a better soil and water management. Experiences about successful outcomes have to be delivered so that other countries can promote and improve their practices at a national level.

Ceciliano also said that the support of international organizations and parties is necessary to promote and then implement the VGSSM. Furthermore, an effective communication with farmers is needed to reach the implementation mechanism. Farmers and smallholders are not aware of international guidelines and policies.

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