28.01.2022 – 15:13
At the end of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) 2022, the world agriculture ministers met today at an international conference at the invitation of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. It was about global food security by protecting our soil. NABU welcomes the international exchange on soil and calls on decision-makers to integrate soil protection into global agricultural and trade policy.
NABU President Jörg-Andreas Krüger: “The condition of our soils is still alarming. Soils are becoming impoverished, desertified or polluted worldwide and are thus losing their valuable functions for protecting our climate and our biodiversity. The biggest drivers are those that are largely mismanaged in many countries Agricultural subsidies paired with free trade and development policies that are forcing farmers around the world into a predatory and undercutting competition in which the costs for the climate and nature are not priced in. The health of our soil is becoming the focus of world agriculture ministers. This gives hope to turn away from the ruthless exploitation of the soil. And in the coalition agreement, the federal government also spoke out in favor of improved soil protection and binding regulations. It is now up to it to seize the opportunities for effective soil protection in Germany, the EU and worldwide: it is necessary an EU soil protection directive htlinie and the conversion of all agricultural subsidies into targeted rewards for public services in land use. Embedded in a renewed trade policy framework, this enables farmers worldwide to regenerate our soils and thus food security, climate protection and the protection of our ecosystems.”
Background: Political developments in soil protection
In December, the European Commission presented its EU Soil Strategy 2030. This also includes plans for a renewed soil framework directive (“Soil Health Law”) with far-reaching measures for soil protection and great potential for overall nature and climate protection. Most recently, however, the framework directive failed at the political level, partly due to Germany’s blockade. This could now change with the new federal government: in the coalition agreement, the traffic light promises to work at EU level for improved soil protection and binding regulations.
Background: performance and condition of our floors
Healthy soils are the basis of our food security and the prerequisite for biological diversity on land. At the same time, they are an important ally in fighting the climate crisis. Their humus layer stores and filters water, provides important nutrients and binds CO2. For example, a newly formed ton of humus removes around 1.8 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere (Idel 2020). However, the reality of current land use is different: many of the valuable ecosystem services that soils provide are being destroyed or even reversed. Even most German agricultural soils do not store any CO2 today, but emit an average of 0.19 tons of CO2 per hectare and year (Jacobs et al 2018). A trend reversal in the development of the health of our soils is now necessary as soon as possible in order to be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
More information & press photos: www.NABU.de/presse
Simon Krämer, NABU expert for soil protection,
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