Improving soil health for farmers and ecosystems (iSQAPER)
Soil health is of great importance for both ecosystems and agricultural and food-production systems. Both ENDS promotes sustainable land use and fair land governance, this way contributing to better soil health.
Good soil quality is of fundamental importance to both local and global food production and to ecosystem resilience. Agricultural soils world-wide are under pressure due to agricultural, food, cattle feed, biofuel and trade policies. Soil health is being threatened by deforestation, intensification of agriculture and land degradation through use of pesticides and fertilizers. This results in loss of fertility and degradation, leading to productivity decline. All this is made even worse by climate change.
Reliable knowledge and data help land users assess the health of their soils and make well-informed decisions about its use. When information on sustainable land use practices is easily available, it supports farmers in improving their soil quality.
In a project called iSQAPER (Interactive Soil Quality Assessment for agricultural Productivity and Environmental Resilience) Both ENDS combines forces with many universities, research institutes and NGO's to improve soil health in Europe and China. iSQAPER aims to provide innovative methods to improve soil quality in different pedo-climatic zones. To this end, an app will be developed by farmers, scientists, practitioners, agricultural service providers and policy makers, which can be used on mobile devices anywhere in the world to gather location-specific soil health information and sustainable land use options.
Connecting science, policy and civil society
In the project many scientific institutions are involved, and therefore Both ENDS has an added value. We bring in knowledge about policy and policy processes at the international level and about the experiences of worldwide civil society.
Within the iSQAPER project, we deliver policy analysis, for example of the land-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's). At the same time, we bring the scientific insights from iSQAPER to international conferences such as the UNCCD or the Global Land Forum.
The importance of land rights for soil health
Within iSQAPER and towards policy makers, we continuously stress that land tenure policies also influences the sustainable use of land and soil health. Access to, ownership and control over land is inherently part of a successful implementation of sustainable land management. Sustainability often requires a long-term vision towards the land, the production on the land and the health of the soil. The investments needed are also long-term: change agricultural practices, plant trees, improve fertility. Insecurity over land rights withholds land users from these long-term investments.
International guidelines such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) stress the importance of good land governance by governments and the improvement of land rights for small-scale farmers, pastoralists, forest peoples, fishermen, youth, indigenous peoples and poor communities. These guidelines from the UN Committee on World Food Security have been adopted by all UN Member States. Both ENDS therefore considers the VGGT as a great opportunity to guarantee land rights for all farmers and pastoralists and to enable them to manage their lands in a sustainable way.
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Both ENDS works with partners around the world to ensure that land is governed fairly and inclusively and managed sustainably with priority for the rights and interests of local communities.
Globally, the area that is suffering desertification and land degradation is ever expanding. Unsustainable and often large-scale agricultural practices, including the copious use of pesticides and fertilisers, are a major driver of land degradation, aprocess that is further exacerbated by climate change, causing more erratic rainfall patterns, longer periods of drought and unpredictable growing seasons. This is very problematic not only for the hundreds of millions of people who directly depend on land and water for their livelihoods, but also for life on earth as a whole. It is clear that this process must be stopped and reversed, better sooner than later. But how to go about it?
News / 29 October 2019
The second United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was held from 2 to 14 September in New Delhi, India. Our colleague Nathalie has been working together with many civil society organisations for several years to show the UNCCD that large numbers of local communities around the world are working on sustainable land use and on combating desertification and land degradation, and that land-use security is essential.
News / 30 August 2019
Worldwide, hundreds of millions of people live in areas where the soil is depleted; often they are forced to, or the region they have been living in for generations has become increasingly arid over time. The desert is advancing and this is a global problem. Opinions about the causes of land degradation and desertification, but especially about the solutions, are very divided. To discuss this, the biennial global conference on desertification will take place from 2 to 14 September. This is where policymakers, scientists, NGOs, female and male farmers and pastoralist, herders and companies from all over the world come together. Our colleague Nathalie van Haren is present at the conference and explains why.
News / 28 September 2017
This September, Both ENDS participated at the 13th Conference of the Parties of the UNCCD in Ordos, Inner Mongolia in China. We were part of the Drynet delegation, a network of CSOs, to bring local realities to the international UNCCD discussions.
Blog / 25 September 2017
Access to, ownership and control over land is inherently part of a successful implementation of land degradation neutrality (LDN) and sustainable land management. Sustainability often means investing for the long term, and insecurity withholds land users to do so. In particular women's land use rights are fundamental as they are the ones working on the land and thus putting LDN into practice.
Event / 6 September 2017
From 6-16 september, the 13th Conference of Parties' of the UNCCD (UN Convention to Combat Desertification) took place, this time in Ordos, China. The UNCCD is the global convention of the United Nations on combating desertification and drought. Every country in the world has signed this convention. Canada withdrew in 2012, but in 2016 - under the Trudeau administration - started a process to re-enter the convention. Both ENDS is a member of Drynet, a network of local organisations and communities in dry regions searching for ways to use land in a sustainable manner.
Publication / 1 September 2017
Publication / 1 September 2017
External link / 2 January 2015
The website about the project iSQAPER: Interactive soil quality assessment in Europe
and China for agricultural productivity and environmental resilience.