In cooperation with the European Parliament, DG Environment (DG ENV) hosted a conference on Land and soil degradation post Rio+20, in Brussels on 15 and 16 November
MEP Sandrine Belier hosted a pre-conference session on land and soil degradation post Rio +20 at the European Parliament in Brussels on 15 November 2012. IES scientists Arwyn Jones and Alan Belward gave presentations on the new Soil Atlas of Africa and the first draft of a new report that leads to a better understanding of Land degradation in Europe. The JRC’s work was well received by more than 80 participants who attended this session from Member States, NGOs, the European Commission and from the secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Such a large turnout for this session emphasises the broad recognition that such scientific evidence is needed to support evolving policies (both European and International) that aim to improve land and soil management.
During the Conference on 16 November, the Director General (Karl Falkenberg) and Director (Pia Buccella) of DG ENV both drew attention to the JRC publications. Ms Bucella informed participants that the relevant documents would be available to download from the JRC’s websites.
Commissioner Potočnik stressed the importance of the ongoing work on the European Soils Framework Directive and his intentions to keep striving for this (the JRC is actively supporting DG ENV in the resubmission of the proposal for this Directive). He also spoke of DG ENV’s intentions to release a new Communication on Land as a Resource in 2014 in the frame of the Resource Efficiency 2020 roadmap.
DG ENV Director General Karl Falkenberg reiterated these points in the conclusions and confirmed that DG ENV believes it is time for the EU to declare itself to be an affected party in the context of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.
· Draft report on An assessment of Land Productivity Dynamics - towards a valuation of Land Degradation in the EU, as presented at the pre-conference session land and soil degradation post Rio +20 hosted by MEP Sandrine Bellier, 15th November 2012.
Comments are welcome by 4th December 2012 after which date the draft will be finalised.
· Commissioner Potočnik’s speech: Following up on Rio+20 – Delivering on land degradation