Soil degradation affects the delivery of soil services such as climate and flood regulation, the discovery of pharmaceuticals, and the habitat of an “underground universe” of soil organisms, a UN Biodiversity Conference side event highlighted.
The newly launched Global Soil Biodiversity Observatory aims to provide global soil biodiversity data and information for guiding evidence-based decision making.
The African Union will convene a summit on fertilizer and soil health in Senegal in 2023.
Loss of soil biodiversity remains one of the main global threats to food security in many regions of the world and is likely greater than estimated due to a lack of data. This was one of the main messages of a side event, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Government of China, convened during the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15) in Montreal, Canada.
The 17 December High-Level Breakfast on Soil Biodiversity saw the launch of the Global Soil Biodiversity Observatory (GLOSOB), which aims to forecast the status of soil biodiversity and soil health.
During the event, Zhao Yingmin, Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment, China, called GLOSOB’s launch timely for contributing to implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). He highlighted national measures to address soil biodiversity, including a national soil census, which is expected to be completed in 2025.
In a keynote presentation, George Brown, on behalf of members of the International Network on Soil Biodiversity (NETSOB), emphasized that soil degradation affects the delivery of key soil services such as climate and flood regulation, the discovery of important pharmaceuticals, and the habitat of a vast “underground universe” of soil organisms.
Lifeng Li, FAO, outlined GLOSOB’s mission of providing global soil biodiversity data and information for guiding evidence-based decision making. He explained that under the GLOSOB, countries will be responsible for measuring, monitoring, and sharing biodiversity information on hotspots in line with NETSOB’s harmonized protocols and country capacities.
Speakers also highlighted, among others:
- the role of the Global Soil Partnership in supporting food security and addressing biodiversity loss;
- the convening, by the African Union, of a summit on fertilizer and soil health in 2023 in Senegal;
- a proposed EU soil health law, which aims to accord soil the same level of protection as water, air, and the marine environment; and
- the Plan of Action of the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity.
Other 17 December events focused on:
- deepening synergies between the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement on climate change, convened by UNDRR; and
- green and blue finance solutions for conservation and sustainable management and use of biodiversity in Belize, organized by the Government of Belize.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) covered selected side events at the UN Biodiversity Conference, which convened from 7-19 December 2022.