Ukraine, FAO unite to save healthy soil

Posted on: 24 May 2019

Ukraine has productive and healthy soil, called chernozem, that is rich in organic matter. However, leading Ukrainian soil scientists estimate that water erosion affects 13.4 million ha, including 10.6 million ha of arable land. Erosion directly impacts soil fertility and agricultural production, which can lead to significant economic losses of more than Hrv 20 billion annually.

Moreover, the development of national approaches to combat land degradation has been slowed by complicated institutional structures, a lack of updated research in the field of soil erosion, and an absence of stable soil monitoring.

The international soil community is ready to support Ukraine in building a unified and recognized platform that avoids fragmented efforts and wasted resources.

The Ukrainian Soil Partnership (USP) was established today during a two-day international seminar organized by FAO as part of an ongoing project funded by the Global Environment Facility to benefit Ukraine’s forest-steppe. It comes under the umbrella of the Global Soil Partnership.

The partnership will act as a united national platform to facilitate dialogue and cooperation among ministries, leading institutions, existing research schools and laboratories on land resources, and relevant stakeholders. It will support the formation of a monitoring base of land cover, land productivity and carbon stocks.

“Among the key objectives of the USP are to improve governance, develop sustainable soil management, provide a transparent natural land degradation monitoring system, improve national environmental monitoring and strengthen the country’s capacity to generate public interest around soil issues,” said Oksana Ryabchenko, FAO national project coordinator.

The platform will play a major role in advocating for and coordinating initiatives to achieve neutral land degradation by 2030, which Ukraine has committed to under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

“The protection of fertile land and the integrated management of natural resources is a national priority area within Country Programming Framework between Ukraine and FAO, as well as part of the Ukrainian national working plan for combating desertification,” said Khushnid Sattarov, FAO programme coordinator in Ukraine. “It is essential to ensure sustainable development of agricultural landscapes and reduction of rural poverty. FAO stands ready to continue providing technical support to achieve these goals.”

The activities of the four-year FAO project relate to broader global efforts as they contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 15 for “life on land.”