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Soil for sustainable food production and ecosystem services

Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH)



The main aim of the conference is to draw further attention to soil protection. Currently, regulations on soils are significantly lacking regarding the balance of soil-air-water. Existing European Union policies (e.g. agriculture, water, waste, industrial pollution prevention policies) help somewhat in protecting soils, but they do not go far enough towards ensuring the sustainability of European soils.

Therefore, there has been further need for a wide-ranging discussion on the condition of soils in order to ensure their preservation. In addition, the International Union of Soil Sciences has announced the International Decade of Soils (2015-2024), which sets the planned Presidency conference in 2017 within a wider context. 

The conference consists of presentations and discussions of high level policy makers, experts in this field together with officials from different international organisations. A soil related study tour is also included in the conference agenda.

Videos related to the event are available on our videos page and photos of events can be accessed on our photos page or on our Flickr account.





Opening speeches

Moderator: Klaus Töpfer, Germany, Potsdam IASS

  • President of the Republic of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid
  • Minister for Rural Affairs of Estonia, Tarmo Tamm 


Presentation I: Soils and global challenges: How far can we prevent further soil degradation?

  • Rainer Horn, President of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS)


Presentation II: State of soils in Europe

  • Luca Montanarella, European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)


Presentation III: Conservation of soils within the EU policy: An overview of recent developments and policy perspectives

  • Claudia Olazabal, Head of Unit at Directorate-General for Environment


Coffee break


Presentation IV: EU Soils in the context of the CAP (aid)

  • Marko Gorban, Deputy Secretary General for Agricultural and Rural Life Policies of the Ministry of the Rural Affairs of Estonia


Presentation V: Soil information – global and regional examples

  • Peter de Ruiter, Chair of ISRIC Managing Board


Presentation VI: Land use for sustainable food production and ecosystem services

  • Roomet Sõrmus, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee


Presentation VII: The EIB in the framework of the EU soil strategy

  • Pim van Ballekom, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB)


Presentation VIII: Soil awareness and the need for communication skills

Gabriele Broll (Osnabrück University) 


Presentation IX: The use of soil data for decision-making (Estonia’s example)

  • Alar Astover, Estonian University of Life Sciences


Presentation X: Experience and opinion of the agricultural producer

  • Jaak Läänemets 


Coffee break


Presentation XI

  • Commissioner Phil Hogan, European Commission, DG AGRI


Ministers’ Panel discussion: Perspectives of the EU and national policy to achieve sustainable use of agricultural soils

  • Do we need closer common action on soil policy at the EU level and how should we go forward?

    In 2014 the 7th Environment Action Programme recognised that soil degradation is a serious problem in the EU. It sets a goal of ensuring that land within the EU is managed sustainably by 2020 and guides member states to increase efforts in reducing soil degradation. Knowing recent trends, it seems quite unrealistic that by following current practices this will be a successful long-term perspective. Currently, only a few EU member states have specific national legislation on soil protection. Further action is needed in this field.
  • How can the EU's CAP contribute to the sustainable use of agricultural soils in a better way in the future

    Agricultural soils are often degraded in an invisible way due to management practices that are not suitable for specific conditions. Up until now, there have only been a few efforts to include targeted soil protection measures in the national Rural Development Programmes under CAP. Considering local soil and land use specifics, soil targeted measures of the future CAP may have a large role in supporting soil protection together with sustainable intensification of competitive agriculture. There is a further need for better solutions to help improve the condition of agricultural soils, e.g. under greening measures and cross-compliance.
  • How can we contribute to the sustainable use of agricultural soils at national level? Best practices from cross-border cooperation. 


Time for interviews (on prior agreement)


Field trip for delegates


Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel)

Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel), Põhja pst 27a, 10415 Tallinn, Estonia




Kertu Kärk

Kertu Kärk

Ministry of Rural Affairs / Spokesperson


Annemari Paas

Ministry of Rural Affairs / Deputy Head of European Union Affairs Department

+372 6256220 annemari.paas@agri.ee

Last update 02/01/2018 11:27