2020 was an active year of campaigning for the active protection, conservation, and rejuvenation of the natural resources which are essential to life; soil and water.
ELO has been closely following the developments surrounding the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, which among its goals had included the update and reinvigoration of the Soil Thematic Strategy. The aim of this new soil strategy, as set out in the Biodiversity Strategy, is to step-up and rejuvenate efforts to protect soil fertility, reduce erosion, and increase soil organic matter; with monitoring and identification of contaminated sites and the delivering a definition of the “good” ecological status of soil. During the consultation process, ELO represented the intentions of its members in defending the principle of subsidiarity for Member States to decide their own laws and protection policies; especially due to the geographical differences inherent in the protection of soil from state to state. ELO also represented its members during the Evaluation of the EU Common Agricultural Policy Impact on Biodiversity, Soil and Water (Natural Resources). Here, ELO welcomed the new proposals of the CAP, which supports the process of monitoring the indicators associated with CAP; however, ELO noted that while the indicators are sufficient in number, reaction to them can be unhelpful in the management of natural resources, and extra monitoring will ensure a better service. ELO was also represented at the launch of the EU Soil Observatory in December.1 This is a platform which aims to provide the European Commission, as well as the wider soil management community, the diverse knowledge, needs, and data flows necessary to protect and safeguard our soils for the coming decades. They provide quality-assured information regarding status and trends on soil, which will be supported by active targeted research; likewise, it shall be working on greater citizen engagement and soil literacy to raise their awareness regarding the impact the care and protection soil can have for society.
2021 is likewise due to be an extremely busy year, with January and February already cranking up to be busy with the ELO being asked to return to represent its members in a workshop for the SoilCare Project, which builds scenarios based around policy outcomes and how these might affect our environment and our landscape.2 Likewise, ELO is looking forward to representing its views in the feedback session for the EU Action Plan Towards a Zero Pollution Ambition for air, water and soil.3 This is just one aspect of ELO’s focus for 2021 on the new Zero Pollution Action Plan. In line with this, there shall be a further public consultation regarding the policy refit of the integrated water management system of the EU, including a list of pollutants affecting surface and groundwaters. This will take place in the third quarter of 2021, and ELO will invite information and advice, in due course, from its members in order to respond to this urgent issue.
Please find the relevant links below.