Soils and Land Governance

Translating Global Goals into Realities: Local Knowledge for Change
 
The work of the IASS Global Soil Forum with an international network of partners envisions a world in which soil is sustainably managed and responsibly governed. This is a vision in which functioning ecosystems and the equitable distribution of resources predominate over the current reality of land degradation, enduring poverty and hunger. 
 
Global governance for soil and land
 
The last five years have witnessed significant progress in reaching a global consensus on the protection of our soils and the governance of our land. To cite just two examples: by adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, governments have committed themselves to “strive to achieve a land degradation neutral world” by the year 2030. In 2012, members of the UN Committee on World Food Security adopted the ‘Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land’ (VGGT), which outline globally agreed principles for responsible land governance. 
 
Engaged research – science with society
 
Translating global goals into realities and priorities requires a locally driven search process. As a research organisation, we believe that knowledge is the key to supporting transformation processes in the areas of soil use and land governance towards more socially, ecologically and economically sustainable development pathways. In generating knowledge to support such processes, we must ensure that those who are in a position to use that knowledge are involved in its production right from the start. If done well, research can be empowering. The joint identification of problems and possible responses by researchers and marginalised communities can give voice to a perspective that normally goes unheard. But this requires engaged research, science with society.
 
The Global Soil Forum addresses the following four thematic priorities:
  • Bridging Knowledge. Empowering Transformation: With the Global Soil Week, we offer a platform to facilitate exchange between societal decision-makers and researchers. Processes of change are unlikely to be successful without citizen support. We therefore seek new ways to facilitate a dialogue between researchers and societal stakeholders on the topics outlined above. Read more
     
  • Balancing competing demands made on soils: Our Land Governance work draws on a human rights perspective to find appropriate governance frameworks which support the livelihoods of the poor and marginalised. Secure tenure rights to natural resources enable a sustainable use of soil. Read more
     
  • Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals: Our SDG team fosters an integrated, inclusive and participatory approach to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; Soils and lands are viewed as cross-cutting themes and a broad base of perspectives and actors are included in the process. Read more
     
  • Reversing land and soil degradation: Our work on soil protection and rehabilitation supports implementation of sustainable land management techniques through contextualisation and co-production of local stakeholder knowledge. This includes endeavours to achieve soil protection in Europe as well as the work on support systems for food-insecure households to adopt sustainable land management techniques. Read more
 
By addressing these topics, the Global Soil Forum also contributes to finding an answer to the more general question of how to design and change governance regimes for global sustainability transformations.