We speak a lot of the importance of sustainable food systems for healthy lives. Well, it starts with soils. Soils constitute the foundation of vegetation and agriculture. Forests need it to grow. We need it for food, feed, fiber, fuel and much more. Soils also host at least one quarter of the world’s biodiversity. They are key in the carbon cycle. They help us to mitigate and adapt to climate change. They play a role in water management and in improving resilience to floods and droughts.
Recognizing the critical role of soils as a finite natural resource essential for food security and vital ecosystem functions, the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand has launched an initiative to celebrate an International Year of Soils, “Healthy soils for a healthy life”.
The 68th United Nations General Assembly declared 2015 the International year of soils. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Year of Soils (IYS) 2015 aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions. Events are planned around the globe.
The International year of soils would aim to:
- Raise awareness of civil society actors and decision makers of the fundamental role of soil for human existence, their role for food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and as a support for productive ecosystems
- Act as catalyst and enabling environment for global soil initiatives in response to the outcome of Rio+20 and MDGs
- Promote, at all levels, policies and actions for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources
- Appeal for support and investment in soil activities across the regions aiming at healthy soil to increase food production and global food security
- Advocate for the enhancement of soil information at all levels to support more effective policies, strategies and actions for sustainable soil management.
We all should take an active role in promoting the cause of soils during 2015 and beyond and advocate for sustainable soil management. We need healthy soils to achieve our food security and nutrition goals, to fight climate change and to ensure overall sustainable development.
"Soil is the hidden, secret friend, which is the root domain of lively darkness and silence."
(F.D. Hole, Emeritus professor of Soil Science)