Mission Soil Manifesto

04 Aug 2023

Why having the Mission Soil Manifesto?


Life on Earth depends on healthy soils. Soil is the living skin of our planet. Healthy soils are indispensable for the provision of food as well as clean water, good air, safe climate, and biodiverse landscapes. Globally, soils store about 80% of the carbon in terrestrial ecosystems, making them the largest terrestrial carbon sink. Soils are fragile, and the impact of our actions on soils are often overlooked or ignored. To ensure a healthy and green future for our current and future generations, we need to protect and care for soils.


Not enough is being done to protect soils from degradation: around 60% of EU soils are currently considered to be in an unhealthy state[1]. Over a quarter of agricultural soils in Europe are eroded, being compacted, suffer from salinisation/alkalinisation and over-fertilisation, or are losing soil carbon. Furthermore, soil pollution is a major concern in urban and industrial areas. Increase in extreme weather events with floods and droughts due to climate change further exacerbates soil degradation. Therefore protecting and regenerating soil health becomes even more urgent.
We need your engagement to care for and restore European soils, and to act on soil protection and enhancement globally, nationally, regionally and most importantly locally. With this Manifesto, we invite you to voice your support to the European Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’[2] (Mission Soil) and its objectives. You will become an active part of a community of practice on soil health.


The Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’


Under the Mission Soil, we are creating shared commitment and a strong community of practice dedicated to soil health. Its goal is to create 100 living labs[3] and lighthouses[4] to lead the transition towards healthy soils. This will drive the recovery of soil health in Europe by linking societal action on soils with research, soil monitoring, communication and engagement efforts as well as evidence-based policies.
The Mission’s goal is substantiated with eight specific objectives, namely: (1) reducing desertification, (2) conserving soil organic carbon stocks, (3) stopping soil sealing and increasing re-use of urban soils, (4) reducing soil pollution and enhancing soil restoration, (5) preventing erosion, (6) improving soil structure to enhance soil biodiversity, (7) reducing the EU global soil footprint, and (8) improving soil literacy in society.
As part of several EU policy strategies, the Mission Soil contributes to the ambitions of the Green Deal and of the Sustainable Development Goals[5]. The Mission also recognizes the importance of international initiatives that mobilise action towards improving soil health globally. This includes the Global Soil Partnership[6], the 4p1000 Initiative[7] and the Coalition of Action 4 Soil Health[8].

Who can sign the Manifesto?


You can sign the Manifesto as a representative of a legal entity (such as a municipality, a region, a private or public company or organisation, an education or research institution, an association) to become a Signatory. You can also sign as an individual to become a Friend of the Mission Soil. Neither you nor the entity you represent will have any legally binding obligations. However, by signing the Mission Soil Manifesto or by becoming a Friend of the Mission, you are speaking up for the importance of soil health. You are also joining a community that cares for the future of European and global soils. You take on a symbolic commitment to take action and to contribute to soil health protection and restoration.

What is in it for me?


By signing the Mission Soil Manifesto, you will join a vibrant community of soil advocates. You will get first hand access to knowledge on soil health and the Mission Soil, and you will be able to meet with and learn from others. The name of your organisation or authority as a signatory will be publicly visible. This makes it possible for others to become aware of your activities and to connect with you around the topic of soil protection.
Signatories (entities) and Friends of the Mission Soil (individuals) will be more easily connected and able to receive and exchange information through various channels. This will include a Mission newsletter providing information on Mission progress, projects and their results, Mission calls for proposals, events, and policy development. An annual European Mission Soil Fair will stimulate exchanges, sharing of knowledge and experiences among the signatories, participants in Mission Soil projects and other relevant actors, and take stock of the progress made towards the achievement of the Mission Soil objectives. You will have access to the latest information concerning the Mission, its progress, and its activities.

Sign up here today!