Newsletter n.67


1.EXPERIENCES: Collaborative tools and environmental conflicts 

2.NEWS FROM THE SIP FORUM: Final report on the 12 October General Meeting



Collaborative tools and environmental conflicts

In previous newsletters we have dealt with the topic of democratic control. An interesting conference was held in Milan on 22 November last year on the subject of “Developing collaboration in environmental and urban conflicts“. We asked one of the speakers, Veronica Dini, who is a lawyer, to tell us why and how we should develop collaborative tools in the area of environmental conflicts. She kindly sent us the following.

“The first reason lies in the fact that, as the news shows, it is impossible not to be concerned with and about the environment: there are too many urgent matters to be dealt with and too many significant challenges to be faced. The second reason is that the management and protection of the environment are related to basic goods and interests that, at the very least, are seen as being mutually opposed; in this area, therefore, conflict is unavoidable and destined to worsen as available resources are exhausted.

Having clarified why this matter is so important, in the legal, social and political debate, we need to take on board the fact that conflict can be prevented and managed through a number of institutions and strategies: by having recourse to judicial authority or by using  collaborative tools. In the former case, to put it extremely briefly, the solution to the problem is delegated to a third party that filters it through the lens of the law and assigns rights and wrongs to the case. Continua a leggere “Collaborative tools and environmental conflicts”

Final report on the 12 October General Meeting

The detailed report (in Italian) on the General Meeting of the SIP Forum held in Milan on 12 October last year. It sets out the Forum’s new targets. These are ambitious and require greater commitment and understanding on the part of all the Forum’s members. We know what to do and how to do it: now we must unite and make ourselves available to the young people who are trying to bring about radical change in society. These young people are fighting for the right to continue to hope for a future.

GSE Network – We’re off !

We’re off! One of the subjects discussed at the General Meeting of the SIP Forum in Milan was that of the need for members to take action to gain a better understanding of the  European dimension. Every local group was asked to nominate someone responsible for contact with the GSE (European Soil Group) so as to create an internal network within the Forum with a mandate to:

  1. Inform and educate the various SIP groups about European institutions (how they operate and how they engage with the soil/land/landscape in particular);
  2. Encourage them to form links at least with the national representatives for their own area within the European institutions, providing them with data, information, experiences and accounts of their local situation;
  3. Participate with understanding in European and international actions, identifying and developing existing opportunities that very often are not made use of (training, projects, meetings, study grants etc).

The SIP groups were contacted in November and the process of creating the GSE network got slowly underway. The group will need to organize itself and decide the details of how to operate. In the meantime, a dedicated Google Group has been set up with about 30 contact people  in it.

All long journeys start with a first step: the first actions for the Group’s members to undertake are to read the monthly Newsletter; distribute it to their own local group with their own comments; and collect analyses, questions and suggestions to feed back into the Google Group.

We again invite area groups that have not yet signed up to the GSE network to send the name of a representative to copied to

The Green Deal for Europe

In recent weeks we have heard increasingly about the Green Deal for Europe with which the new European Commission has introduced itself, as a way of responding to the protests of young people and others throughout society who are demanding concrete actions instead of rivers of words. The person responsible is Commissioner Frans Timmermans.

Until now environmental questions had been blocked by the previous Commission. Now we are seeing a revitalization of the EU’s structures on this subject in the light of preparation for the Green Deal. But what does this consist of?

We can find out by reading the document that was presented officially on 11.12.2019 which is available in English, French and German on the European Commission’s site (Bruxelles, COM(2019) 640 final). It is a list of good intentions and fine words, with descriptions of “frenetic” activities to be carried out between 2020 and 2021 to prepare plans, directives, and legislation. The Commission presents this document as a roadmap to be carried out with citizens, civil society, member states and states outside the EU. Continua a leggere “The Green Deal for Europe”

The EP’s Resolution for COP 25 in Madrid

The echoes from the week on the climate held in Madrid from 2 to 13 December are fading partly as a result of the festive break. As far as words go, at these times we all feel profoundly “more virtuous”. We make New Year’s resolutions to be more generous, healthier, to work for peace. At this time of general goodwill, it is pleasing to recall that the European Parliament has declared a climate and environmental emergency (Resolution of 28 November 2019 (2019/2930(RSP), a symbolic vote intended to keep up the pressure on EU leaders in the light of COP25 and the installation of the executive of the new European Commission. In addition, and in parallel, on 29 November the European Parliament approved the resolution titled: UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid, Spain (COP 25)” (P9_TA(2019)0079).

The document is 25 pages long and reading it was a cheering experience. We reproduce below what it says on the soil, but we invite all to read it in full (it is available in all the EU languages) and we hope it will be picked up in the EC’s Green New Deal for Europe:  Continua a leggere “The EP’s Resolution for COP 25 in Madrid”

The alpine soils partnership

We do not have to stress the importance of the alpine region in terms of the ecosystems, hydrographic contribution, glaciers, not to mention animal and plant biodiversity. Instead we would like to bring attention to an initiative on alpine soils undertaken by four countries (Slovenia, Germany, Italy and France) to create a specific partnership for  alpine soils: the Alpine Soil Partnership (AlpSP).

L’AlpSP, officially founded in  March  2018  in  Grenoble, brings together soil experts and the users of soil knowledge (authorities, practitioners, NGOs, etc.) to better introduce soil protection into land management practices, and promotes Alpine-wide cooperation on soil protection and soil ecosystem services management. AlpSP links experts on the horizontal and vertical levels: Public authorities and soil experts are thus able to understand the gaps in and needs of soil conservation in order to better integrate solutions and create tools in their day-to-day work as a new standard.

The main objectives of the AlpSP are:

  1. to bridge the gap between the goals of the European Soil Partnership (ESP)/Global Soils Partnership (GSP) and the local and regional levels, where soil management/protection decisions are made, and
  2. to foster the implementation of the Alpine Convention’s Soil Conservation Protocol

The activities of the AlpSP focus on five key topics in the Alpine Region: i) Sustainable soil management; ii) Soil awareness raising, education, and didactics; iii) Soil information and research; iv)  Regional cooperation and v) The harmonization of data and methods.

We would stress the importance of this initiative that aims to bring together different actors involved with the soil. In the spirit of good resolutions for 2020, we hope that other countries in the alpine regions will join AlpSP.

The Initiative’s Day in Madrid and the Niwamori experience

After Marrakesh, Bonn, and Katowice, the 4 per 1000 Initiative held its Day in Madrid  on 11 December, once again to coincide with COP25, that is the UN Conference on the Climate. The day was divided into several parts: a) in the morning, there were official presentations by various organizations, both international and not; b) the afternoon session was reserved for Members of the Consortium only, to make functional and strategic decisions; c) poster sessions were held throughout the day.

The Day was preceded by the meeting of the Initiative’s Scientific and Technical Committee on 9 and 10 December, also in Madrid.

We will return at a later date to the outcome of the Day as regards the action points and organizational decisions that were taken to modify the Initiative’s structure. Here we just want to mention a video that received the approval and support of the 4 per 1000 Initiative.

The video recounts the experience of a Japanese farm in Niwamori owned by the same extended family for around 400 years. The farming practices are carried out with respect for the rules of permaculture and nature. The soil has become ever richer in organic carbon, thus reducing its accumulation in the atmosphere. Continua a leggere “The Initiative’s Day in Madrid and the Niwamori experience”