Realising the SDGs Through Sustainable Land and Soil Management

We are all using land and soil, to grow food, to build our cities, to enjoy nature. Land and soil are limited and unrenewable natural resources and yet, between 2012 and 2018, the area of agricultural, forest and other semi-natural and natural land taken into urban and other artificial land development exceeded 500 km2 per year in the EU.

In 2015, the UN put forward the 2030 Agenda, with 17 interdependent Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many of the SDGs reflect challenges related to land and soil, including food security (SDGs 2 and 6), human health (SDG 3), sustainable cities (SDG 11), climate change (SDG 13), land-based nutrient pollution of the seas (SDG 14), and sustainability of terrestrial ecosystem services (SDG 15).

Milieu, with their partners Wageningen Environmental Research, and Deltares, recently completed an analysis of the progress on implementing land and soil-related SDG targets in the EU which led us to identify actions for all of us, scientists, policy makers, practitioners, end users and citizens, that we can take to keep our land and soils healthy for future generations. The results are now available at https://ec.europa.eu/environment/soil/publications_en.htm.