Around 90 percent of the Earth’s topsoil will be at risk by 2050, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Wednesday, calling for more action by countries and partners who signed up to its Global Soil Partnership in an effort to protect soil and help farmers globally.
Describing that equivalent of one football field of earth erodes every five seconds, the FAO stressed that it would take around a thousand years to create just a few centimeters of topsoil and help land restoration.
Given the worsening state of food security across the world which relies on soil for 95% percent of the food that is consumed, this is a particularly pressing issue.
The FAO warned in its statement on Wednesday that if no changes are made, the ecosystems across the world will be hampered by degrading soils and will put food security at even greater risk, calling on every stakeholder – civilians, governments, and international institutions – take greater action to monitor and care for the soil.
A globally recognized mechanism, Global Soil Partnership (GSP) was established in 2012 to guarantee productive soils – to ensure food security, climate change adaption, and sustainable development- by promoting sustainable soil management and governance.
The GSP has a range of initiatives to address climate change-related challenges – soil recarbonizing, improving the amount of organic matter in soil, etc. – and has partnered with local governments and farmers to enhance soil health.
It also empowers all stakeholders and policymakers to make informed decisions on managing soil degradation informing them of relevant soil conditions with the help of its data collection expanded in the form of digital soil mapping.
Calling for urgent government action, FAO said that policymakers are necessary actors in implementing a sustainable soil policy although the work of GSP represents the efforts of mostly non-state partners.