World Soil Day is held annually on 5 December as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources. This year's theme is "Soil and Water: A Source of Life".
Our survival depends on the precious link between soil and water. Soil and water are fundamental for the functioning of all terrestrial ecosystems and over 95 percent of our food originates from these two resources.
Key to all these functions, on which we and all terrestrial life depend, is soil biodiversity. From earthworms and termites, springtails and nematodes, to the vast range of fungi, protozoa and bacteria, as well as the roots of plants and their symbiotic partners, the hidden life of soils is critical to nutrient cycling, controlling pests and diseases and maintaining good soil structure.
But soils and soil biodiversity are under threat. Soils are being compacted, eroded, polluted, and sealed. The causes are many including deforestation, agricultural intensification, overgrazing, and urbanization, among others. These threats must be addressed.
The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework is a plan for everyone to take urgent action to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity loss and, by 2030, to put nature on a path to recovery for the benefit of people and planet. It includes a target to restore, maintain and enhance nature’s contributions to people including soil health and the regulation of water.
The Framework is supported by an updated Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity, which was adopted at by the Convention on Biological Diversity at COP 15 alongside the Framework itself.
The activities of the Plan of Action include the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of soil biodiversity to support a transition to more sustainable agricultural and food systems.