The Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM) published by FAO were developed through an inclusive process within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP). They aim to be a reference providing general technical and policy recommendations on Sustainable soil management (SSM) for a wide range of committed stakeholders. The guidelines were released in April 2017.
The Sustainable Development Goals identify the need to restore degraded soils and
improve soil health. There is widespread agreement that we must nurture and unlock the full
potential of soils, so as to be able to not only support food production but also to store and
supply more clean water, maintain biodiversity, sequester carbon and increase resilience in a
changing climate. This is a goal that requires the universal implementation of sustainable soil
According to the report, soils are the foundation of food production and many essential ecosystem services. It has been shown that sustainable soil management contributes to increasing food production,enhancing the nutrient content of food, and adapting to and mitigating climate change.
The objectives of the VGSSM are: to present generally accepted, practically proven and scientifically based principles to promote SSM and to provide guidance to all stakeholders on how to translate these principles into practice, be it for farming, pastoralism, forestry or more general natural resources management.