Sino-EU Panel on Land and Soil

(latest update: 22/08/2018)

I. INTRODUCTION AND MANDATE

Growing understanding of the interdependencies between land resources and socio-economic systems in Europe and China has led to increased information exchange on this issue in recent years. The need for coordinated joint efforts facilitated by a formal and permanent platform on the field became evident to both Chinese and European decision makers.

The initiative of Mr. Janez Potocnik commissioner of the European Union and Mr. Zhongli Ding, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to tighten the links on this priority field led to the establishment of the Sino-EU Panel on Land and Soil (SEPLS).

The SEPLS was established on 29-30 June, 2010, in Ispra, Italy with the participation of leading soil scientists and land system researchers representing the main geographical regions of China and the EU and covering a wide range of disciplines within the land resources domain. SEPLS allowed the parties to exchange information in a formalized and well-structured manner and harmonize their information-base for responses to the threats arising from the natural and socio-economic pressure on soil and land resources.

MANDATE

The Sino-EU Panel on Land and Soil (SEPLS) is a scientific body which provides the European Commission with advice and expertise on the current state of land and soil resources and potential environmental and socio-economic consequences of their future utilization patterns

 

II. FUNCTION OF THE SEPLS

1. Evaluate and report scientific results for policy support
2. Propose priority issues for research projects
3. Policy evaluation and advice
4. Awareness Raising(Public, Across sectors)

 

III. MEANS OF POLICY SUPPORT

1. Prepare summary documents on key issues 
2. Promote exchange of expertise between China and the EU in order to have a common understanding of land and soil issues relevant to policymaking.

3. Prepare a responsive mechanism for urgent policy questions from JRC / European Commission and (if any) the Chinese counterparts through the European Commission

IV. PRIORITY TOPICS

Optimization of land use as well as integrated land, water and soil management on local, regional, national, continental and international levels encompass complex decisions on socio-economic and ecological priorities. Various global policy frameworks and partnerships, mainly the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs), Paris Climate Agreement (COP), Habitat III New Urban Agenda and FAO Global Soil Partnership, have adressed related global mandates and approaches. However, social, economic and ecological interests often conflict. This trilemma in land use policy (figure 1.) can only be resolved by integrating local characteristics, understanding and priorities into the decision-making process at different levels in the policy, governance and implementation frameworks of EU and China.

Figure 1. Trilemma in land use policy (Li, 2010)

The SEPLS identified crosscutting topics in the ‘land use trilemma’ which need to be addressed in priority. Based on evaluation and reporting of scientific results, to cristalize SEPLS policy supports and priority issues for research projects, activities of the SEPLS will focus in these priority topics:

  • Promote ways to address soil pollution both in EU and China: types and extent
  • Promote ways to minimize soil fertility depletion, manage nutrients, and optimise soil organic matter dynamics
  • Promote understanding of the impacts of climate change on soil ecosystems
  • Facilitate a broader understanding of the link between SDGs and sustainable land/soil management
  • Foster science-based policy making for sustainable land use and soil management
  • Disseminate existing sustainable land management practices
  • Recognise soil as part of Natural Capital
  • Recognise the complex inter-relationships between components of ecosystems and the services they provide.
  • Identify appropriate strategies to protect soil and hazards that arise from soil use.
  • Ensure that the key role of soil is recognized amongst the political and broader community
  • Ensure soil is incorporated in the decision making process across a broad front (little regard is often paid to soil in spatial planning decisions although these decisions have a major impact on soil and the soil has a major impact on the use of the land).
  • Improve information about the roles soil plays in many aspects of waste management, and in particular the fate of plastic, including ‘biodegradable plastic’ in soil.
  • Raise societal awareness of the value of soil as a life supporting resource to levels needed to ensure soil receives the necessary protection, restoration and regeneration attention.
  • Encourage the uptake of novel techniques and methods of soil survey, land use monitoring and data interpretation that have the potential to revolutionise our understanding of soil and land use over large areas (e.g. Pan-China or Pan-Europe).
  • Help resolve conflicting demands on soil and land in ways compatible with present priorities but without compromising future needs.

 

V. TARGET ACTIVITIES OF SEPLS

  • 1. SEMINARS 
    The SEPLS is planning to hold open seminars to discuss targeted topics of interest. (For the priority fields to be discussed in the seminars see under ‘Priority topics’ heading.)
  • 2. WORKING GROUPS 
    Working groups are established to support the elaboration of the priority topics. Activities of the working groups are closely linked to each specific seminar.
  • 3. PUBLICATION
    Publications are linked to the four functions of the Panel (see section II.: ‘Functions of the SEPLS’). As a derived product of each seminar the SEPLS is planning to publish a series of policy support documents on the identified priority topics.
  • 4. RESEARCH
    The Panel attempts to facilitate the design and elaboration of new research projects that bridge the knowledge gaps on issues related to land and soil resources in the EU and China

VI. DELIVERABLE

  1. CONCISE POLICY SUPPORT DOCUMENTS 
    • Land and soil within the new EU Common Agricultural Policy
    • Planetary boundaries related to soil properties and functions
    • Land and soil actions in the framework of the Belt and Road (BAR) initiative of China
    • Resolving competing land uses in China and EU
  1. PROPOSAL FOR RESEARCH PROJECTS
  • Soil and land use projects and proposals within H2020 and beyond

 

VII. STRUCTURE

Description of the Structure:

1. The Panel is led by an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is chaired by one representative of the JRC and one representative of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (co-chairs), hereinafter collectively referred to as "the Chair".

2. The Executive Committee controls and determines the policies and activities of the Panel, and takes all measures it deems proper or desirable to promote the purpose of the Panel. It is inter alia in charge of the following duties:

a) Preparing the main policy lines;

b) Full power of management including the right to determine the internal rules of the Panel and all priority activities;

c) Admission and expulsion of Members;

d) Establishing and dissolving working groups;

e) Appointment and dismissal of the Chairs of the Executive Committee, Secretaries and working group leaders;

f) Commenting proposals submitted by working groups;

g) Approval of internal rules adopted by working groups;

h) Approving proposals and decisions of working groups;

i) Chairs of the Executive Committee shall have the right to partake in the meetings of the Panel and its working-groups and represent the Panel externally.

3. The Panel acts at the request of its Chair.

 

It is supported by a Secretariat hosted by the JRC Directorate D. and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The Secretariat:

a)         Has two seats: one in China and one in Europe (The Secretariats);

b)         Are managed by two secretaries, one in China and one in Europe;

c)         Are jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of all issues related to the Working Groups;

d)         Implement the decisions of the Executive Committee;

e)         Report to the Executive Committee;

f)          The secretaries upon delegation from the Chairs of the Executive Committee represent the Panel externally.

Working groups

The panel operates four working groups as follows:

  1. Working group on awareness raising and communication

Chair: Xiaoying Liu (China)

Members: Linlin Lu (China), Rainer Horn (Germany), Paul Nathanail (United Kingdom), Lulu Zhang (Germany)

  1. Working group on natural capital accounting and innovative financing

Chair: Elizabeth Kucinich (United Kingdom)

Members: Rainer Horn (Germany), Xinwu Li (China), Lulu Zhang (Germany), Stephen Nortcliff (United Kingdom), Gergely Toth (Hungary), Paul Nathanail (United Kingdom), Pandi Zdruli (Albania)

  1. Working group on urbanization and land use

Chair: Linlin Lu (China)

Members: Xiaoying Liu (China), Gergely Toth (Hungary), Winfried Blum (Austria), Pandi Zdruli (Albania)

  1. Working group on SDGs and land and soil

Chair: Stephen Nortcliff (United Kingdom)

Members: Rainer Horn (Germany), Xinwu Li (China), Lulu Zhang (Germany),Gergely Toth (Hungary), Pandi Zdruli (Albania)

 

VIII. Members 

Type A - Individual Expert appointed in his/her personal capacity

 

Name

Nationality

Professional Title

Membership

Winfried E. H. Blum

Austria

em. Prof. Dipl. Ing. Dr. Dr.h.c. mult

Member

Paul Nathanail

United Kingdom

Professor Euro Geol Dr. & consultant

Member

Elizabeth Kucinich

United Kingdom

Consultant

Member

Gergely Toth

Hungary

Academic Professor

Member

Linlin Lu

China

Associate Professor

Member

Lulu Zhang

Germany

Academic Researcher

Member

Pandi Zdruli

Albania

Academic Professor

Member

Rainer Horn

Germany

Academic Professor

Member

Shaohua Wu

China

Associate Professor

Member

Stephen Nortcliff

United Kingdom

Emeritus Academic Professor

Member

Xiangbin Kong

China

Academic Professor

Member

Xiaoying Liu

China

Architect, Spatial Planning Consultant

Member

Xinwu Li

China

Professor/Division Director of Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Sciences

Member

 

 

 Type C - Organization

Name of Organization

Category

Countries/Areas represented

Membership

DesertNet International (DNI)

Academia, Research Institute and Think Tanks

Germany

Member

Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural
Resources Research (IGSNRR)

Academia, Research Institute and Think Tanks

China

Member

Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISSCAS)

Academia, Research Institute and Think Tanks

China

Member

 

The panel is registered in the Register of Commission Expert Groups and other similar entities: http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regexpert/index.cfm?do=groupDetail.groupDetail&groupID=2687

 

 

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