Within the proposed Horizon EU mission in the area of soil health and food – entitled ‘Caring for soil is caring for life’ – the ambitious goal is being considered of ‘ensuring that 75% of soils are healthy by 2030 and are able to provide essential ecosystem services’. It is also in line with the European Green Deal’s ambition for a zero pollution in air, water and soil. To secure clean air, water and soil, healthy ecosystems and a healthy living environment for Europeans, the EU needs to better prevent, remedy, monitor and report on pollution.
The EU Soil Observatory, launched last week, will provide the necessary data to monitor progress towards the European soil health objectives and targets, with the ultimate goal of improving soil management and halting soil degradation.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, commented: “Research will be key to addressing knowledge gaps and providing solutions to the soil health challenge before us. The new EU Soil Observatory will further expand existing soil data and monitoring efforts. It is a first practical step towards implementing the proposed mission in the area of Soil health and food. I am convinced that this will be a major step in our joint efforts to halt and reverse soil degradation.”
Janusz Wojciechowski, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, speaking at the launch event, said: “I welcome the launch of the EU soil observatory, an important step in making information and data on soils available to all. Soil health is increasingly in the spotlight, highlighting its importance for food security, clean water, biodiversity and for better coping with climate change. Research and innovation will be crucial in finding solutions which can be tested, replicated and taken up on the ground. Here the proposed EU mission on Soil health and food, in combination with the Common Agricultural Policy, will be a powerful tool to promote sustainable land and soil management which delivers wider benefits for society.”
The Observatory will be operated by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), which has a long-standing record of providing policy relevant soil data and information, both at European and global scales.
Source – European Commission