Precious resource – resource under pressure.
Photo: A. Lobos


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In order to adequately address the important role of soils and land for sustainable development, a holistic approach is needed. This article discusses why biophysical but also socio-economic aspects have to be considered – using the example of Guatemala, one of the first countries to support the proposal to create the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the outcome document of Rio+20, the international community identified the need to take actions on land and soils and committed to strive to achieve a land-degradation-neutral world within the context of sustainable development. The conference also set in motion a process to develop universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are closely linked to the post-2015 development agenda process, which includes discussions on the future of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which are to reach their target date in 2015. Merging the two processes into a comprehensive sustainable development agenda is a possibility and may be decided at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2013.

The SDGs have the mandate to address the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainable development in an integrated manner. At the same time, they need to consider national realities, capacities and respect national policies and priorities. Particularly, the SDGs should build upon the lessons learned from the MDGs.

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