Third Online Assembly of the Soil Europe Group (SEG) – 10 and 11 February

On 10 and 11 February, the third online assembly of the SIP Forum’s working group Soil Europe took place. This is merely a virtual meeting, as it takes place via email exchange. We asked participants to confirm their attendance by merely checking their computer or tablets and react to the issues raised.

We believe we have acquired expertise in the area, given that the previous two assemblies took place in the same format.

The working programme called for in last year’s assembly had a multi-annual nature. Aside from reviewing results of the defined actions, this year’s Assembly reviewed and updated the programme for the year 2018. The final document of the Assembly is being finalized and will be available in the next Newsletter.

For more information about the outcomes of the 2018 SEG Assembly, please contact


European social dialogue for sustainable construction

Last year, the Soil Europe Group on behalf of the SIP Forum was developing contacts and urging institutions to organize meetings and dialogues with institutional and social actors who deal with soil. Some of the counterparties underlined that the debate was already taking place and that representatives of civil society and those from construction companies had already published some guidelines.

Our counterparties were referring to the Communication from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council Strategy entitled “Strategy for sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises” (COM/2012/0433 of 31/7/2012). They also meant the “BROAD – Building a Green Social Dialogue”, a research project financed by the Commission. Continua a leggere “European social dialogue for sustainable construction”

The first Agroecology Europe Forum

In 2014, the FAO in Rome hosted the first International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition . In the wake of the symposium, several follow-up meetings were organised, also at the FAO’s initiative, on several continents. In Europe, the meeting was held in Lyon (France) on 25-27 October 2017, within the prestigious Isara University. Over 300 guests, representing farmers, technicians, researchers, students, national and international public institutions, civil society and NGOs attended this first Agroecology Europe Forum.

As a reminder, agroecology is understood as the implementation of ecological principles to agriculture, whether to produce food or other products, all of which is based on the management of agrosystems. This word encapsulates an agricultural concept whereby the scientific and social components of the ecosystem are taken into account. In other words, it is about creating a sustainable way of farming, able to feed the growing world population without jeopardising the environment and its natural resources. Naturally, it must also bring about economic viability to the farmers. The fundamental binding factor here is the soil. Continua a leggere “The first Agroecology Europe Forum”

European nature in the plural

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. With such ruthless environmental degradation, with less political attention being given to the importance of environmental protection, with many still denying climate change, an adrenaline-shock is needed to fuel hope and need to change.

The Dutch have attempted to do so. The report entitled “European Nature in the Plural. Finding common ground for a next policy agenda” was recently published. It is aimed at strongly encouraging EU governments to build a new reference for environmental protection, which must be supported by stronger political efforts. The report focuses on biodiversity and on the protection of nature, in order to add to renewing current legislation beyond the year 2020. Soil and its biodiversity are naturally an important component. Continua a leggere “European nature in the plural”


International and particularly European institutions are experts in creating incomprehensible acronyms. In the past for instance, the DGs of the European Commission were indicated with Roman numerals (DG XII stood for research, DG VIII for cooperation and development, and so on). This changed to using full names, such as DG Environment, DG Research and Innovation… however the idea has always been to use acronyms which could be understood by insiders: DG ECHO, DG EAS, EEAS…

It therefore should not come as a surprise that LULUCF means “Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry”. This is also the title of an EU proposal for regulation – currently being discussed at Parliament and Council – on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework (COM(2016)0479) . Continua a leggere “LULUCF”

Building up synergies and dialogue

One of the main aims the SIP Forum is trying to reach with the Soil Europe Group (SIP-SEG) is to make contact with associations and civil society representations. The aim is to create a network of groups, institutions and people in Europe who can agree on the common objective to save and protect soil for current and future generations.

With this view, contacts are made informally with concerned people and groups in various EU Member States. The intention is to check people’s availability to converge on same objectives.

Let’ remind that we mainly try to appeal to groups and associations that do not deal with soil as a main priority. With those who do have soil as a priority, we keep finding ways to make connections and create synergies. Continua a leggere “Building up synergies and dialogue”


The Estonian Presidency at the EU has been making efforts in drawing people’s attention to soil and its use as a component in European life and politics.

On 28 September, it launched a debate on soil with an interesting document which casts light to the problem with the following title: ‘Three square kilometres soil destroyed every day in Europe .

On 4-6 October, a High Level Conference as part of the EU Council Presidency entitled ‘Soil for sustainable food production and ecosystem services’ took place in Tallinn.

The main conclusions of the conference focused on 4 main themes:

  • Policy measures: the need for a strategy at EU level to indicate priorities and measures each EU Member State must implement;
  • Climate Change: the Paris Agreements did not recognize the role of soil in carbon accumulation – even though the 4 per 1000 Initiative was mentioned – therefore specific actions are demanded in and by all Member States, which must however take national and regional differences into consideration;
  • Soil data: it is important to increase the use of soil data in the entire EU, and at the same time harmonize soil measures in order to have a limited number of indicators denoting changes in soil quality, especially for farmers;
  • Communication and awareness raising: each Member State must encourage and create more awareness on the importance of soil for life among the entire European population.

These conclusions point to a specific direction to be followed. However they are not binding and are purely based on the good will of EU Member States.

Will the following presidencies act on what was said in Tallinn?

Meeting the Farmers’ Category – Group III of the EESC

One of the main objectives of the SIP Forum is to collect recommendations from various stakeholders, in order to adopt a new strategy to protect EU soil. We are currently following two pathways: a) reinforcing communication and contacts throughout Europe with associations and civil society organizations which are not dealing with soil as a priority; b) establishing a dialogue with other stakeholders who are interested in soil (builders, farmers, planners, administrators …).

With regard to the second objective, the Forum has been invited to present its work on 26 September 2017 at the Farmers Category from Group III of the EESC. This is the second meeting taking place there – the previous one, with the Consumers and Environment Category took place on 21 June. Continua a leggere “Meeting the Farmers’ Category – Group III of the EESC”