Awareness raising is key: Participants of the Global Soil Week at the opening of the "ONE HECTAR" exhibition in Berlin.
Photo: © IASS


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It remains a challenge to set the often forgotten resource soil on the political agenda. With the declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Soils, the United Nations has taken a step in this direction. In Berlin, Germany, the participants of the third Global Soil Week demonstrated the close links between soils, the Sustainable Development Goals and negotiations on climate change.

The third Global Soil Week, organised by the International Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies – IASS (Potsdam/Germany) and partners, was held under the motto “Soil. The Substance for Transformation” in Berlin in late April 2015. More than 600 participants from 80 countries around the globe met to discuss ways to attain sustainable soil management and responsible land governance. Around 300 case studies on the topics of a “Land degradation neutral world”, “Land governance”, “Sustainable Land management and soil rehabilitation”, “Transformation through Transdisciplinarity?” and “Awareness raising and soil communication” were discussed.

SDGs put too much pressure on natural resources

The effectiveness and sustainability of the SDGs with regard to demands on natural resources formed a focal topic at the meeting. Twelve of the proposed SDGs address the sustainable use of natural resources, and several of them depend on the use of additional land resources, including the Goals regarding food security (Goal 2), energy supply (Goal 7), production and consumption (Goal 12) and sustainable use of ecosystems (Goal 15).

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