We must ally with our soils!

The speech made by Greta Thunberg at Katowice is still ringing in our ears. We are not just responsible for but guilty of our own inability to halt the planet’s decline. It is incumbent upon every one of us to get involved, and we must act now.

This is why we seek out and create opportunities for dialogue with all potential soil users. It is no longer a matter of “persuading” them of its necessity for human life, but rather of finding a way of saving it for the sake of ourselves and future generations who are now pointing to us as being the people responsible for the failure to act in the face of disaster.

We therefore welcome the concrete attempt to bring around the table the various interest groups who use the soil. On 23 January a Round Table took place at the European Parliament with the title: “We must ally with our soils!” This meeting between representatives of the building trade, farmers, planners, administrators, trade unionists, researchers, representatives of civil society and EU institutions was not an easy one. Not all those who were invited turned up. Unfortunately there is still some fear and reluctance about sitting round the same table and accepting the presence of a wide range of different participants.

There is a need to break the ice, dispel fear, facilitate mutual understanding … and to realize that it is not a matter of protecting one’s own interests but of survival itself. The outcome of the Round Table, in brief, was to identify possible convergences, bring about a willingness to discuss and map out an achievable common path. All though this might seem like a list of good intentions, it is the outcome of an open and at times difficult discussion, which nevertheless ended in agreement.

The participants agreed on the following 4 topics:

  1. Public awareness, communication, education on soil use and its importance for life and human rights
  2. Political will: protect the soil, enhance agriculture and food, the need for a common legal framework

iii.   Face up to private property

  1. Appreciation of the economic interests directly or indirectly linked to soils

Now that this first step has been taken, it is the job of all those who attended to continue on the path of cultivating and nurturing an achievable common process that can lead to the creation of European legislation that will be widely acceptable.

The Round Table Report is attached below as a web file, the full printable version is available here .


The soil: how much do we value this critical resource?

How much do we value the soil?” is the question posed by a recent publication from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. It is neither a guide nor a manual for the economic valuation of a material good. It is a publication designed to remind people of the importance of the soil for the survival of humanity through the research carried out by the JRC.

Continua a leggere “The soil: how much do we value this critical resource?”

Suolo: quanto valutiamo questa critica risorsa?

Quanto valutiamo il suolo?” è la domanda della recente pubblicazione del Centro Comune di Ricerca della Commissione Europea. Non è una guida né un manuale per la valutazione economica di un bene materiale. È una pubblicazione destinata a ricordare l’importanza del suolo per la sopravvivenza della vita umana attraverso le azioni di ricerca del CCR.

Potrebbe essere considerato un documento autocelebrativo, invece è una rapida analisi delle carenze che si riferiscono alla salvaguardia del suolo – critica risorsa – per la nostra e le future generazioni. Risulta evidente che il maggiore ostacolo deriva dalla mancata attenzione dei servizi e della resilienza forniti dal suolo da parte del mondo politico e dalla scarsa consapevolezza in società sempre più urbanizzate. Continua a leggere “Suolo: quanto valutiamo questa critica risorsa?”

Declaration Pesticide Free Towns

The SIP Forum signed the declaration from Mayors and MEPs which was officially presented to the Round Table on Pesticide Free Towns held at the European Parliament on 27 September 2018. The swift adoption at European level of a law (already passed in France) prohibiting the use and sale of chemical pesticides in urban areas would both protect the health of people living in those areas and encourage the survival  of the microrganisms, fauna and flora that live in the soil and are at severe risk from pesticides.

The SIP Forum regards support for this declaration to be a first step towards educating mayors and their administrations. Without waiting for specific laws or regulations, municipalities can take steps to implement the content of the declaration, which springs from simple good sense. Many mayors from various EU countries, and Italy in particular, have already introduced municipal regulations leading to the elimination and non-use of pesticides in the areas they govern. The first step is to start by informing and educating Continua a leggere “Declaration Pesticide Free Towns”

Food Strategy 2030

Pre-election periods always see an increase in activity on the part of elected bodies. At the local level we see roads being resurfaced, road signs replaced, more frequent cleaning, the sprucing up of public spaces…

The same is ture, though in different forms, of those who are elected to the European Parliament. From now until May 2019 there will be a crescendo of meetings, debates, conferences, interviews, media appearances, on the subjects that are closest to the hearts of MEPs – and give them the greatest visibility.

The question of the soil has never greatly appealed to parliamentarians, since it is complex and difficult to discuss. This period is an exception, though, because work is underway in the Research & Innovation Directorate-General of the European Commission on developing a Food Strategy for 2030. In this context, the soil is one of the most important topics and – regardless of the timing – is also gaining a lot of media coverage. Continua a leggere “Food Strategy 2030”

Strategia Food 2030

I periodi precedenti le elezioni vedono una rinnovata attività da parte delle strutture pubbliche. Nei Comuni si assiste alla asfaltazione di strade, rifacimento di indicazioni stradali, incremento di azioni di pulizia, abbellimento di spazi pubblici, …

Lo stesso dicasi, in forme naturalmente diverse, anche per i rappresentanti del parlamento europeo. Da qui a maggio 2019 vi sarà un crescendo di riunioni, dibattiti, conferenze, interviste, contributi mediatici, sulle tematiche che più stanno a cuore e danno maggiore “visibilità” agli stessi parlamentari.

Di complessa e difficile presentazione, il suolo non è mai stato un tema particolarmente “appetibile” dai parlamentari. Fa però eccezione questo periodo perché è in corso la formulazione di una Strategia per l’alimentazione per il 2030 da parte della Direzione Generale della Ricerca. In tale contesto, il suolo appare come uno degli argomenti più importanti e – indipendentemente dal momento – assurge a visibilità anche mediatica. Continua a leggere “Strategia Food 2030”

The students of the Uccle European School (Brussels)

Parents send their children to school so they can learn. Teachers generally want their students to understand and absorb what is shown to them. The greatest satisfaction, however, comes when students surprise us with their fresh ideas.

On 5 December 2017, the SIP Forum organized an event with the title “Soil is life!” at the Italian Cultural Institute in Brussels with the aim of raising awareness of the soil’s importance for all human beings. Teachers at the European School of Brussels arranged for some of their students to attend the event, in order to stimulate their interest in this complex subject. Their involvement led immediately to increased understanding that extended well beyond the evening itself. Continua a leggere “The students of the Uccle European School (Brussels)”

International arbitration clause – incompatible with the EU!

In the past, we talked about the international arbitration clause, stating it was an additional mechanism invented to prevent multinational companies from being affected by policies defending the environment and human rights. Now, the European Court of Justice (EUCJ) has ruled that such a procedure is incompatible with EU law ().

According to the ruling handed down on 6 March 2018, “the arbitration clause in the bilateral investment treaty has an adverse effect on EU law and is therefore not compatible with it”. This marks the first time that the EUCJ issues a ruling on the regulatory procedure of dispute settlements between investing undertakings and States. Continua a leggere “International arbitration clause – incompatible with the EU!”