The protection of soils and land will contribute to the achievement of at least nine of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is therefore necessary to develop appropriate strategies to monitor the use of these resources. At the same time, the success of the post-2015 agenda will largely depend on its effective implementation and trickling‐down to the regional and national level which is why issues, such as how financing for development can be effectively organized, how to monitor implementation and how to ensure ownership, are taking center stage.

In this context, the IASS together with partners Biovision, International Center for Tropical Agriculture, European Environment Agency, Global Forest Coalition, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Millennium Institute, German Federal Environment Agency, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and further authors launched the policy brief titled: “Grounding the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Options for the protection of our precious soil and land resources“. The policy brief highlights the crucial roles that soils and land will play in achieving several of the SDGs as proposed by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, and proposes options for monitoring, follow-up, and review of soil- and land-related targets.

Please download the policy brief here.

The policy brief asserts that land and soil resources underpin key services, such as the production of food, feed, fiber and fuel, the sequestration of carbon, nutrient cycling, protection of biodiversity, and water regulation. It makes concrete suggestions for global indicators to “capture a minimum of globally comparable information on soil and land”. At the same time, the brief argues that the follow- up and review of the post-2015 agenda needs to go beyond reporting on indicators and therefore proposes national multi-stakeholder initiatives for soil and land monitoring and accountability.

The policy brief including the proposals was launched and discussed at this year’s Global Soil Week (Berlin, 19–23 April 2015) during a dialogue session and a plenary discussion. Dr. Jes Weigelt, Project Leader of the Global Soil Forum at IASS presented the proposal to the over 500 participants at the event saying: “This proposal is the contribution of the IASS and its partners to the Post-2015 Development Agenda process. We are committed to continue working towards an integrated implementation of the SDGs for soils and land.”. The proposal was positively received by the participants of the Global Soil Week and will be presented and discussed within the framework of the post-2015 development agenda process in New York at a High-Level Event titled “Follow-Up and Review Mechanisms for Natural Resource Management and Governance to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” (12–13 May 2015).


Ivonne Lobos Alva
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Germany