International soil governance


Three international conventions provide relevant provisions on soil protection, namely the “United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa ” (UNCCD) of 1994, the “Convention on Biological Diversity ” (CBD) of 1992 and the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ” (UNFCCC) of 1992. Main objectives of the UNCCD are to combat desertification and to mitigate the effects of drought. The “Convention on Biological Diversity” focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Biodiversity also includes biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems. The UNFCCC entails provisions with regard to mitigation and adaptation measures, including sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases (GHG). Finally, as part of regional international law, the “Soil Conservation Protocol ” for the implementation of the “Alpine Convention ” of 1991 must be mentioned.

Legal instruments are also needed to implement the objective “Land Degradation Neutral World” (Target 15.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals) at national level. This concerns requirements to prevent or avoid future land degradation and to restore of degraded areas. Moreover, planning tools are required in order to achieve a zero net balance.

The legal study published in 2014 analyses the legislation of the EU, of the US and of Brazil, whether suitable legal instruments to effectively implement the objective “land degradation neutral world” are entailed. Based on the results of this analysis recommendations how to further develop the international law are submitted.

The legal study of 2019 provides a legal assessment of whether German law is suitable to achieve objective "land degradation neutral word" for the topics - erosion, sealing by human settlement, and pollution by industry -, and recommends options for improvement. It also compiles and explains key insights and lessons learned in English, as a contribution to the international discussion.

The legal study “Improving international soil governance - analysis and recommendations ” published in June 2020 entails an analytical stocktaking of the current instruments and regulations for a sustainable soil management at international level. On this basis, proposals are submitted, how the international cooperation for soil protection could be improved and how international regulations should be redrafted.

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 soil protection  Soil Conservation Protocol  Alpine Convention