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FACCE-JPI dug deeper into soil at the "International Soil Research: Opportunities for synergy and cooperation" event

Soil event outcome news item
On January 27th, the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI) organized, together with the DG AGRI, the event “International soil research: Opportunities for synergy and cooperation with FACCE-JPI”. This half day meeting was held as a side event of the DG Agri conference “Designing the path: a strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation”.

The event was attended by around 75 participants. There were representatives from many European and international research activities on soil, which made this event a unique networking opportunity for leading international stakeholders on soil-related research.
The event has been focused in three main objectives:
-    Explore the international landscape on soil research;
-    Show the work of FACCE on the issues related to soil;
-    Explore opportunities for synergy and cooperation at the EU and international level, including with the recently launched 4/1000 initiative (COP 21).
The first part of the meeting was composed by six presentations about the next international initiatives on soil:

i) FAO/ Global Soil Partnership (Dr. Ronald Vargas Rojas / GSP FAO);
ii) Global Research Alliance (Dr. Martin Scholten / WUR);
iii) The relevant work on soil by the EC Joint Research Centre (Dr. Arwyn Jones / JRC);
iv) International Union of Soil Sciences (Dr. Rattan Lal / Ohio State University);
v) the FACCE-JPI work on soils (Dr. Rattan Lal / Ohio State University) and
vi) the 4/1000 initiative (Dr Jean-François Soussana / INRA).

The second part of the meeting performed a panel discussion including above speakers plus representatives from the Inspiration project and ISRIC.  
Among the main conclusions that emerged:

• There is strong need for integration of existing research. Not only basic research but also data sets, indicators, etc. from different countries. Further, it is crucial to pursue harmonisation and standardisation of definitions, data and tools.
• Integration of global research, but also research integration of various scales is crucial. We have to go from local to global and multisectoral.
• The study of soils as a resource for food security and climate mitigation has to be a common goal for scientific researchers. It is also important to look at global targets but with local reference.
• There is need for global hotspots map for C sequestration at a proper scale (1:10.000).
• Need for a better understanding of functions that biodiversity provide in the soil, including C sequestration.
• There is a clear need to share data, databases, models,, making use of existing resources (FAO/JRC) but data may be lacking or unavailable for countries. This is exacerbated by less field work being done today.
• Soil processes take a long time and need long-term research. Hence it is necessary to raise awareness on policy makers about the impossibility of having immediate effects (positive/ negative).
FACCE will pursue these research goals through its ongoing and developing actions that include soil research, specifically,

i) ERA-GAS ERA-NET CoFund in complementarity with the ERA-NET CoFund SusAn;
ii) WaterWorks 2015 ERA-NET CoFund with JPI Water on  sustainable water use in agriculture to increase water use efficiency and reduce soil and water pollution and
iii) Thematic Annual Programming (TAP) Network  on “mechanisms and assessments of the potential for carbon storage in soils across regions and systems”.