Global Soil partnership


On the basis of the recommendation of FAO's High-Level External Committee (HLEC) on the Millennium Development Goals to the Director-General (13-14 October 2009) and the discussions and conclusions from the 22nd Committee on Agriculture (COAG) on the 16th-19th of June 2010, preparatory activities have been initiated to develop a vision statement, strategy and action plan towards the establishment of a Global Soil Partnership (GSP) for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.

As information on this new initiative of FAO is spreading to the numerous stakeholders in the world, expectations on this new partnership are growing. There is a clear perception by many institutions and stakeholders at global, national and local level that such a partnership is urgently needed. The renewed recognition of the central role of soil resources for assuring food security and the increased awareness that soils play a fundamental role in climate change adaptation and mitigation has triggered numerous projects, initiatives and actions that need an increased effort of coordination and partnership in order to avoid un-necessary duplication of efforts and waste of resources, especially in times of substantial budget restrictions. The added value of the GSP in developing synergies and cost savings among the various existing networks and programs will assure that the partnership receives the necessary support and endorsement by all major players and stakeholders.


Improve global governance of the limited soil resources of the planet in order to guarantee healthy and productive soils for a food secure world, as well as sustain other essential ecosystem services.


Develop capacities, build on best available science, and facilitate/contribute to the exchange of knowledge and technologies among stakeholders for sustainable management of soil resources at all levels.


Through enhanced and applied knowledge of soil resources as well as improved global governance and standardization, the Partnership will:

  • Create and promote awareness among decision makers and stakeholders on the key role of soil resources for sustainable land management and sustainable development;
  • Address critical soil issues in relation to food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Guide soil knowledge and research through a common global communication platform incorporating real local challenges;
  • Establish an active and effective network for addressing soil crosscutting issues
  • Develop global governance guidelines aiming to improved soil protection and sustainable soil productivity


Main partners will include all those international, regional and national bodies that are conducting substantive work on soil protection and sustainable management, inter alia:

  • International agencies and projects with a global soils mandate and/or activities;
  • Regional and national soil science associations and networks;
  • National soil research institutes and academic institutes (universities);
  • Representative of civil society organization (i.e. International Federation of Agricultural Producers-IFAP; International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements -IFOAM) and the private sector.

The proposed main areas of action of the GSP have been identified through initial consultations by FAO and JRC with key partners such as ISRIC, ICRAF, IRRI, etc and national soil survey agencies......etc. and through a number of recent international and regional workshops on soils in relation to food security and climate change

More Information

Official GSP Web Site:


  • Newsletter No 7 (October 2015)
  • Newsletter No 6 (May 2015)

Background Paper

Terms of Reference of the Global Soil Partnership

Download the background Paper entitled "Towards a Global Soil Partnership for Food Security and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation"

Launch Event

Presentations and speeches from the launch meeting hosted at FAO on the 7-9 September 2011

Download the Global Soil Partnership Brochure (1.8MB)

A number of Institutions and countries have already expressed their interest to join this partnership at an early stage. We are pleased to extend to you a preliminary inivation to the formal launch event of this gloval partnership organised by FAO and Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. Find attached the Invitation
Find attached the Agenda for the meeting including briefings from very important speakers.

Venue: 7-9 September 2011, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy


International Year of Soils (IYS) 2015

 The 68th United Nations General Assembly has designated 5th of December as World Soil Day and declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils (see the resolution). It took two years of hard work from all the partners under the leadership of Thailand and the FAO Global Soil Partnership in order to inform members that soil is a crucial resource that requires urgent attention if to address the various challenges ahead. The GSP Secretariat will serve as the Secretariat of the International Year of Soils and thus, will immediately establish an organizing committee composed by willing partners in order to prepare a joint plan of activities for the year. GSP goal is to make IYS 2015 as a memorable year demonstrating that the soils community could really contribute to the efforts for food security, hunger eradication, climate change adaptation, poverty reduction and sustainable development.



Towards a European Regional/Sub-regional Soil Partnership, Second Global Soil Week, Berlin, 31 October 2013

As per the Terms of Reference and Rules of Procedure of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the establishment of Regional (or Sub-regional) Soil Partnerships constitutes an essential step in the facilitation and effective implementation of GSP agreed actions. Activities in this regard are under way, as most regions have established respective soil partnerships. Currently, solid progress has been made particularly in Asia, Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean and the Near East. 

With regard to Europe, the GSP Secretariat, taking advantage of the Second Global Soil Week (GSW) in Berlin, Germany from 27 to 31 October 2013 has, in consultation with partners, organized a workshop towards a European Regional/Sub-regional Soil Partnership. The objective was to discuss the launch of this important regional initiative with European partners. 

This special event was organised by the secretariat (FAO) of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) on Thursday 31/10/2013 afternoon for launching the European Regional Soil Partnership (ERSP). The meeting was relatively well attended, taking into account the very late announcement, and decided the establishment of the ERSP covering the entire European Region of FAO. The partners endorsed the nomination of the European Commission (DG JRC) as the secretariat of the ERSP and the establishment of an ad hoc steering committee formed by the European Soil Bureau Network (ESBN), the Soil Science Institute of Bratislava (Slovakia), the Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS) and the European Society for Soil Conservation (ESSC) that will support the JRC in organizing the first plenary meeting of the ERSP during the first semester of 2014. 

Download the Report of the Second Global Soil Week.


First Plenary Assembly of FAO's Global Soil Partnership, Rome, 11-12 June 2013, Rome, Italy

First Plenary Assembly of FAO's Global Soil Partnership, Rome, 11-12 June 2013. More details can be found in FAO Pages
Main points in the agenda included: Adoption of the Rules of Procedure (RoP), the nomination for, and establishment of, the Inter-governmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), and the development of the GSP Roadmap and Plans of Action. The ITPS is now established and Luca Montanarella (JRC) is one of its members.

Workshop on "Managing Living Soils" - 5- 7 December 2012, Rome, Italy

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is organizing a technical workshop in the framework of the Global Soil Partnership on: "Managing Living Soils" , 5- 7 December 2012, Rome, Italy. 
FAO, with the support of the European Commission, launched the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) in FAO headquarters in September 2011 to raise awareness of decision makers on the vital role of soil resources for achieving food security, adapting to and mitigating climate change and guaranteeing provision of environmental services. The Vision of the GSP is to improve global governance of the limited soil resources of the planet in order to guarantee healthy and productive soils for a food secure world, as well as sustain other essential ecosystem services.

FAO Proposal to observe World Soil Day annually on 5 December: 
The Council may wish to: a) endorse the Observance of the World Soil Day (5 December) as a valid platform for raising awareness on the importance of soils for food security and ecosystem functions; b)request the 38th Session of the FAO Conference (June 2013) to endorse the proposal to establish 5 December as World Soil Day, and to request the Director-General of FAO to formally request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to table the proposal at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

First Global Soil Week "Soils for Life" - Berlin 18-22 Nov 2012

The first Global Soil Week gathered over 400 representatives of governments, scientists, international organizations, business and civil society in Berlin, Germany, from 18-22 November 2012, to consider the theme "Soils for Life." The event took place within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership and served as a platform to initiate follow up on the land and soil-related decisions in the outcome from the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). It was organized by the Global Soil Forum, which was established by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam.

For more information please visit the GSW's , Download the Summary Report.

Joint Global Soil Partnership/e-SOTER workshop

Strengthening of Soil Data and Information is one of the main pillars of action of the FAO Global Soil Partnership. Knowing the state of the art of Global soil data and information for serving different users demands is a crucial activity. This will then allow the global community to develop a coordinated joint plan of action for generating the required data and information in the coming future.

Is in this regard that the Global Soil Partnership together with the EU-funded e-SOTER Project (coordinated by ISRIC) are organizing a one week workshop “Towards Global Soil Information: activities within the GEO Task Global Soil Data” at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy from 20-23rd March 2012.

Keynote presentations addressing the state of soil information globally and the needs for soil data and information by users will be followed by a number of presentations by most of the different ongoing soil mapping initiatives. Then a hands-work session for developing a plan of action of the GSP pillar will be devoted.

First Announcement: Towards Global Soil Information: activities within the GEO Task Global Soil Data