We leave our soils in capable hands – Farewell and continued success!

The 66th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Soil and Land Resources finished on Friday, October 30th with a ceremony in the rectorate of the TU Dresden. In this short course 21 participants from 17 developing and emerging countries learned about existing efforts, innovative solutions and political action towards sustainable soil and land management. Examples included reducing sealing of soils due to urban sprawl by employing mechanisms such as green belts, soil protection strategies and policies of urban densification among other manifold topics like land management practices, farm forestry and soil ecology.

SC66_award_ceremony__HaraldSchluttig_MG_1530webThe American writer, environmental activist and farmer Wendell Berry once said: »What we do to the land, we do to ourselves«.

In September of this “UN Year of Soils” the world leaders came together in New York to make sustainable development with its many interlinked aspects a top priority for all countries. The 17 goals are designed as one indivisible package. Two of the 17 targets specifically address the responsible governance of soil and land-use rights, highlighting that soil and land degradation is a global issue and its consequences currently affect 1.5 billion people: “End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” (Goal Nr. 2), and “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss” (Goal Nr. 15).

Let’s take our governments by their words!

(Photo: H. Schluttig)

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