What role for soil functions in spatial planning?

“Land take and soil protection” and “the role of soil functions in spatial planning” were the two main topics developed and discussed by participants during a two-day cross-sectoral workshop in Munich.

Representatives from the Alpine countries met on 29th and 30th March for a workshop on soil functions and spatial planning, jointly organised by the Alpine Convention Working Groups on Soil Protection as well as Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, with the support of the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention.

The first day covered different issues related to land use and the role of soils. These included rethinking land in the Anthropocene, land-saving targets and good implementation practices in the Austrian region of Tyrol and in Slovenian agricultural areas. Furthermore, the participants came together in groups to find possible solutions for achieving the land-saving targets.

On the second day of the workshop, participants deepened the discussion including soil functions to improve spatial planning. Following this, representatives from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism, the EUSALP Youth Council, Climate Alliance Tyrol, and Alenka Smerkolj, Secretary General of the Alpine Convention took part in a panel discussion on the questions What can an ambitious target be for “soil-sensitive” spatial planning at the Alpine Convention level? How can the Alpine Convention promote it?







The event took place in-person, allowing for direct networking, interactions and connections between the workshop participants who tackled the theme of land take – one of the most pressing issues concerning the Alps. The Alpine region is facing a growing soil-use demand which cannot be satisfied due to the already intensive usage and limited availability of space.

The two-day workshop marked an important step forward in the improvement of soil function evaluations, which can contribute to reaching major goals such as land degradation neutrality by 2030 (UN SDGs) and net-zero land take by 2050 (EU). It was also a good opportunity to hear from and discuss directly with experts and youth representatives.

The workshop represents one of many steps in the implementation of the Alpine Climate Targets until the year 2050,” said Alenka Smerkolj, Alpine Convention Secretary General. She stressed that “for future generations, we need to improve in saving land and we need to ensure that high quality soils are safeguarded as urgently as we need to improve climate protection.”

Find out more about the workshop at this link.

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