Quo vadis soil protection in the Alps?

The long wait has finally come to an end: the final report on the Assessment of the Alpine Convention Soil Conservation Protocol is now also available in English! Initiated under the German Presidency (2015-2016), the topic of soil protection in Alpine countries was profoundly discussed over the last few years through a series of events, such as an online expert survey and an international symposium.

The assessment report “Quo vadis soil protection in the Alps? Final report of the UFOPLAN project” clearly highlights the implementation shortcomings of the Soil Conservation Protocol: although acting as an overarching legal instrument, the implementation of concrete measures, initiatives and projects widely differs on national levels.

Consequently, the Permanent Committee of the Alpine Convention is currently auditing the need to establish a thematic working body on the issue ofsoil. Furthermore, the current Austrian Presidency organized a conference on the issue of the conservation of moorland in the Alps since this is an especially endangered and particularly important habitat acting as a carbon sink.

 Especially in the Alpine arc, politicians and the public administration need to be aware of the importance of soil as a scarce but valuable resource. Preservation of soil was elected as general topic of this year’sYouth Parliament to the Alpine Convention (YPAC), addressing key questions like  “How are governments implementing green areas into city landscape?”  and “How do natural hazards effect soil and its quality?”. One of their resolutions aims at raising awareness for soil protection in society. Therefore, the program Soil in Education, Events and Development (S.E.E.D.) was proposed.

Several ongoing actions in the field of soil conservation in the Alps are coordinated by  Action Group (AG) 6  in the framework of the macro-regional strategy for the Alps (EUSALP). The Action Group is led by the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention together with the Land Carinthia and deals with the “Preservation and valorization of natural resources, including water and cultural resources”.


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