GSP Eurasian Soil Partnership Holds Plenary During Arid Land Conference
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The Eurasian Soil Partnership (EASP), a regional partnership of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), has concluded its Plenary and Steering Committee Meetings, which were held in conjunction with the Second International Conference on Arid Lands Studies (ICAL2) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

global.soil.fao15 October 2014: The Eurasian Soil Partnership (EASP), a regional partnership of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), has concluded its Plenary and Steering Committee Meetings, which were held in conjunction with the Second International Conference on Arid Lands Studies (ICAL2) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

The Plenary discussed the EASP Implementation Plan, and confirmed that the regional partnership’s activities will focus on combating and controlling soil salinization. The meeting also: established five working groups to develop Implementation Plans for the GSP five Pillars of Action; endorsed the terms of reference for the EASP; and appointed the EASP Chair and Vice-Chair for the next two years.

The meeting was arranged by the Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS), which serves as the EASP Secretariat, and was attended by delegates from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, as well as representatives of regional and international organizations.

Held under the theme ‘Innovations for Sustainability and Food Security in Arid and Semi-arid Areas,’ ICAL2 was organized by the Government of Uzbekistan and the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan in collaboration with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), and the Program for Sustainable Development of Agriculture in Central Asia and the Caucasus of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR-CAC).

The conference, which attracted the participation of more than 150 scientists, policymakers and other shareholders, focused on sharing knowledge and experiences in arid lands development. Plenary and technical sessions held during ICAL2 covered themes including: global issues of arid and semi-arid ecosystems; economic benefits of arid lands use; assessment of biological resources and related trade-offs; biosaline agriculture; innovations to overcome desertification and food security while facing climate change; and water resources management in arid and semi-arid areas.

Conference participants highlighted as possible areas of collaboration: enhancing data on salinization trends in irrigated land; supporting countries in adopting proactive drought risk management practices; and capacity development, among others. Participants also agreed on the need to enhance cooperation on best practices and systems in the framework of the EASP.

The Plenary was held from 10-11 September and preceded ICAL2, which was held 10-14 September, at the same venue. [GSP EASP Plenary Webpage] [ICAL2 Conference Website] [ICAL2 Conference Report] [IISD RS Sources]

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