The Mission 'A Soil Deal for Europe' (Mission Soil) is a large-scale initiative focused on protecting as well as restoring soils, and promoting sustainable management practices in urban and rural areas. The Mission aims to raise awareness and ensure the long-term health and productivity of soils on all types of land. Moreover, it aims to advance and share knowledge with stakeholders and the general public about sustainable practices related to spatial planning, soil conservation and agricultural techniques, aimed at reducing the use of chemical inputs.
The Mission Soil pioneers, showcases, and accelerates the transition to healthy soils through ambitious actions in 100 Living Labs and Lighthouses within territorial settings. It combines these actions with a comprehensive transdisciplinary research and innovation programme, a robust, harmonised soil monitoring framework and increased soil literacy and communication to engage with citizens.
As defined in the Mission Implementation Plan, the Mission Soil has eight specific objectives:
Reduce land degradation relating to desertification;
Conserve and increase soil organic carbon stocks;
No net soil sealing and increase reuse of urban soils;
Reduce soil pollution and enhance restoration;
Improve soil structure to enhance soil habitat quality for soil biota and crops;
Reduce the EU global footprint on soils;
Increase soil literacy in society across Member States.
Together with the EU Soil Strategy, the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on Soil Monitoring and Resilience (Soil Monitoring Law), the EU Soil Observatory (EUSO), the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and other policy developments, the Mission Soil is part of an effective framework for sustainable soil management and restoration in urban and rural areas to meet the Green Deal ambitions.
To know more, visit also EU Mission 'A Soil Deal for Europe'.
Why soils are important?
Life on Earth depends on healthy soils.
Soils support vital ecosystem services by:
- producing nutritious and safe food, as well as other materials such as wood and fibre
- cycling nutrients
- storing and cycling carbon, supporting climate mitigation and adaptation
- hosting biodiversity
- purifying and regulating water cycles and thus preventing floods and droughts
- supporting human activities, landscapes, and cultural heritage.
However, according to EU Soil Observatory (EUSO) dashboard, more than 60% of EU soils are considered unhealthy due to current management practices, pollution, urbanisation and the effects of climate change.
Soils are a fragile and non-renewable resource. One centimetre of soil can take hundreds of years to form but can be lost in just a single rainstorm or industrial incident. Thus, soils need to be carefully managed and safeguarded for future generations.