Home > About FAO > Meetings > Global Symposium on Soil Erosion
Global Symposium on Soil Erosion

Global Symposium on Soil Erosion

Stop soil erosion, Save our future

15-17 May 2019, FAO HQ, Rome, Italy

The Global Symposium on Soil Erosion (GSER19), ‘Stop soil erosion, Save our future’ will be held  from 15-17 May 2019, at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, Italy. This science-policy meeting is co-organized by the UN FAO and its Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), together with the Science-Policy Interface (SPI) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture.

The objective of GSER 19 is to establish a common platform to present and discuss the latest information on the status of interventions and innovations in the field of soil erosion and related land management.

Soil erosion is one of the ten major soil threats identified in the 2015 Status of the World’s Soil Resources report. It is defined as the removal of soil particles, soil aggregates, organic matter and nutrients from the land surface through three major pathways: water, wind and tillage. Soil erosion can affect soil quality by removing the highly fertile topsoil and exposing the subsurface horizon that has low organic matter content. This process can result in soil structure degradation, nutrient loss, poor microbial activity and even soil salinity.

Soil erosion poses a major threat to global food security and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As confirmed at the UNFCCC COP23 in 2018, soil health is key to combating climate change. In this context, soil erosion control can be related to the achievement of SDG13 and further extended to the SDGs 2, 3, 6 and 15 on food security, clean water provision, desertification and halting biodiversity loss, respectively.

GSER19 aims to translate scientific and policy evidence into decisions and actions to minimize soil erosion for increased food security, ecosystem services, and promote the restoration of eroded sites.

We’re living in an era where there is lots of knowledge available to help tackle soil erosion. This symposium can play a vital role in sharing that knowledge, informing policy, and identifying suitable economic approaches that can leverage that knowledge into action.

Lindsay C. Stringer,
Professor of Environment and Development at the Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK

Soil erosion affects the whole world. As soil scientists, we are aware of many of the technical solutions but as a society we fail to ensure these are implemented. This symposium will provide a space to discuss the social, political and economic barriers we face and will set the stage for concrete action.

Rosa Poch,
Chair of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS)

One third of global soils are degraded, with their potential limited by many factors including soil erosion, one of the most significant threats to soil functions. Sustainable soil management is an essential part of the Zero Hunger equation.

José Graziano da Silva,
Director-General, FAO

Major intervention and innovation advances needed to stop soil erosion and save our future require collaboration between the world’s best soil erosion professionals. This symposium offers a critical opportunity to advance soil conservation innovation through synergistic exchange and sharing of current science.

Richard Cruse – Keynote speaker GSER19,
Professor & Director, Iowa Water Center, USA

To lose soil is to lose food and life. An integrated approach that brings together science and policy is key to Sustainable Soil Management and soil erosion control. We need a global platform to save this finite natural resource from soil erosion.

Jae E. Yang – Keynote speaker GSER19,
Professor & Research Director, Kangwon National University, Republic of Korea

Taking steps to preserve the quality and quantity of global soil resources should require no justification. There is an urgent need to address excessive soil erosion in the Anthropocene. This symposium will contribute by highlighting the status of soil erosion, its impacts and efficient strategies for soil conservation.

Jean Poesen, Keynote speaker GSER19,
Department of earth and environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium