“Assessing Soil Pollution and Application of Water-Waste-Soil Nexus Solution for Improved Land-Use Management” at the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution

  • DATE / TIME:
    2018/05/02 - 2018/05/04
    Rome, Italy

    Co-Organisers: FAO; GSOP


    Dr Serena Caucci, UNU-FLORES

    Soil pollution occurs in many countries within many farmlands among other land uses. While air or water pollution is visible and assessed by science-based evidences, soil pollution is invisible and often overlooked in both resources and sustainable management strategies. To manage the trade-off between the exponentially increasing demand for food and the progressive global water scarcity, many countries must optimise their land-use management at the minimum cost for both humans and natural ecosystems. By using wastewater reuse as a case study in Latin America, China, and MENA region as well Europe, the main objective of our work is three-folded:

    1. Raise awareness on the pressing problems of soil pollution in different regions of the world and at a global scale
    2. Suggesting monitoring strategies aiming at the foundation of a sustainable land management strategy that could increase resource use efficiency and preserving at the same time the irreversible pollution of soil ecosystems while reusing wastewater for irrigation purposes
    3. Show how data gathering on soil pollution have shaped policy interventions


    Soil pollution is one of the ten major soil threats identified in the 2015 Status of the World’s Soil Resources report (FAO and ITPS, 2015a) and subsequently addressed in the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM) of the FAO (FAO, 2016). The Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP18) is the first step in implementing the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management in terms of preventing and reducing harmful substances in soils as a way to maintain healthy soils and food safety in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, the symposium’s outcomes should provide scientific evidence to support actions and decisions to prevent and reduce soil pollution for increased food safety, food security and nutrition, ecosystem services, and promote the restoration of polluted sites.

    The specific objectives of the symposium are to:

    • Examine the current scientific understanding of soil pollution and its effects on food production and safety, the environment and human health;
    • Critically reflect on the impact of land use decisions at the national level (e.g., related to mining, siting of waste disposal facilities and intensive agriculture and livestock production) on soil pollution and eventually, air and water where polluted soil or its pollutants can be transported by erosion processes or water runoff;
    • Identify limitations and prioritise key challenges related to restoring polluted sites;
    • Review existing international policies, agreements, and frameworks addressing sources of pollution to agricultural land in order to assess their effectiveness and propose ways to improve them;
    • Survey and review the use of soil thresholds globally, and explore additional research and policy needs; and
    • Launch an agenda for action on soil pollution as
      a contribution to the implementation of the UNEA3
      declaration on soil pollution

    Please find the agenda here (PDF).

    Related Website:
    GSOP Website


    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Headquarters
    Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
    00153 Rome, Italy