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The Future of International Soil Governance

Cover of the publication International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy



© 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG


The Future of International Soil Governance


Bodle, R., Stockhaus, H., Wolff, F., Oberthür, S. (2021). The Future of International Soil Governance. In: Ginzky, Harald et al.: International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy 2019.  vol 2019. Springer, Cham.

Based on a stocktake, we present options to improve international soil governance in the short, medium and long term. The stocktake includes existing international instruments and institutions that are relevant for soil protection and its governance at the international level. It assesses the actual and potential steering effect of, inter alia, the Desertification Convention, the Biodiversity Convention, the Paris Agreement and climate regime, regional treaties, FAO, UNEP, IPBES and IPCC.

At present, the Sustainable Development Goals and in particular the "land degradation neutrality" target have established a global political reference point. But there are almost no binding obligations for all states specifically regarding soil. Current governance of soil at the international level is piecemeal and spread over parts of different mandates. There is significant overlap of mandates and activities of relevant institutions, each of which has limitations. While a certain degree of a rudimentary division of labour is emerging, there is scope and a need for improvement. We present options for improving international soil governance with regard to overarching issues, a new treaty or institutions, improving existing governance, means of implementation and enhancing co-ordination and coherence.


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Franziska Wolff (Oeko Institute)
Published in
International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy 2019
Published by
Project ID
soil, soil management, land cover policies, organic pollutants, FAO, UNEP, UNCCD, African Union, sustainability, sustainable soil management, soil governance, human rights
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