Land and soil issues are key elements in achieving several of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), such as food security, and protecting biodiversity and climate. Particularly, the issue of land degradation requires substantiation in term of definition and indicators. For this it is crucial to provide input into existing and new initiatives to assess the status and trends of global land and soil degradation, especially the

  • “Status of World Soil Resources Report” by the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS),
  • “Thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration” by Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES),
  • ongoing work on LDN indicators by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) and its Science-Policy Interface (SPI).

Furthermore, these initiatives could benefit from aligning approaches and planned work. Given the complex issues on land degradation, a common understanding of what needs to be addressed in its assessments and which indicators are adequate should be achieved. Thus, a dialogue between science and stakeholders is necessary. While stakeholders (land users, NGOs and policy makers) need to formulate their views and demands, the scientific community can identify what is technically feasible. The session will provide a platform for this dialogue, fostering a transdisciplinary Exchange. Approaches such as “systemic indicators” for sustainable land use and designing “next generation” soil and land indicators for environmental performance to inform policy will be presented and discussed.

The objective of the session is to:

  • collect information on land and soil degradation indicator concepts, respective data and experience already available;
  • identify and formulate needs and criteria for future assessments;

bring together current initiatives and activities in order to join forces.

You may also be interested in the following Lunch Break Forum (LBF) contributions:
–> LBF-20: Wageningen Soil Network
–> LBF-25: Soil data: Modelling and good datasets in landscape planning

Download the session description here.


Time thread Input
09.00 Welcome & IntroductionKnut Ehlers, UBA (Germany)Godert van Lynden, ISRIC – World Soil Information
09.10 Assessing land degradation –  the roles and approaches of IPBES, ITPS and UNCCD-SPILuca Montanarella, ITPS – Intergovernmental Technical Panel on SoilsUriel Safriel, UNCCD-SPI – UN  Convention to Combat Desertification – Science-Policy InterfaceGunay Erpul, IPBES – Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Godert van Lynden, ISRIC – World Soil Information


Moderator: Uwe Fritsche, IINAS (Germany)

10:00 Panel Discussion: Challenges for future assessments of global land degradation and restorationLuca Montanarella, ITPSUriel Safriel, UNCCD-SPIGunay Erpul, IPBES


Moderators: Knut Ehlers, UBA; Uwe Fritsche, IINAS

10.30 Coffee Break
10.50 Presentation: The systematic indicator approachUwe Fritsche, IINAS (Germany)
  Presentation: Soil and land indicators for the Environmental Performance IndexAngel Hsu, YCELP (USA)
  Presentation: Bottom up approaches for monitoring of soil and land Thomas Caspari, ISRIC – World Soil Information (Netherlands)
  Presentation: The Resilience Adaptation Transformation Assessment FrameworkAnnette Cowie, UNCCD-SPI
11.50  (2×20 minutes) World Café: Discussion of indicator approaches

  • Systematic indicators and bottom up approaches (Victor Castillo, UNCCD; Martial Bernoux, IRD/UNCCD-SPI)
  • Environmental Performance Index (Angel Hsu, YCELP; Daphne Yin, YCELP)
  • Resilience Adaptation Transformation Assessment (Annette Cowie, UNCCD-SPI ; Ulrike Eppler, IINAS)


12.30 Reports from the World Café discussion

  • Victor Castillo, UNCCD; Martial Bernoux, IRD/UNCCD-SPI
  • Annette Cowie, UNCCD-SPI
  • Angel Hsu, YCELP; Daphne Yin, YCELP
12.40 Wrap-up and OutlookLuca Montanarella, ITPSUriel Safriel, UNCCD-SPIGunay Erpul, IPBES


Moderators: Knut Ehlers, UBA; Uwe Fritsche, IINAS

Contact: Ariane Goetz