Current Situation of the Law on the Conservation of Soil as a Resource: Strategies and Vision

09 October 2009 | News story

On Monday, September 28 the “Current Situation of the Law on the Conservation of Soil as a Resource: Strategies and Vision” conference took place in the School of Law of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The event was organized by IUCN’s Commission on Environmental Law, the University of Buenos Aires School of Law , the Argentinean Ministry of the Environment, the Law for a Green Planet Institute and IDEA (Institute of Environmental Law and Economics). Distinguished authorities such as Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti, Justice Antonio Herman Benjamín and world specialists on Soils and Desertification participated in the conference.

Sheila Abed, CEL’s Chair and Executive President of IDEA opened the conference welcoming the present authorities and specialists. She emphasized the importance of this particular event being the first one to raise issues regarding soils in Latin America. She also gave a brief summary on the work carried out by the Specialist Group on Sustainable Use of Soil and Desertification and Soils Legislation. The importance of soils legislation as a tool to guarantee its conservation was highlighted, particularly with the view that this is a cross-cutting topic in all aspects of conservation and sustainability.

Dr. Ian Hannam, Chair of CEL’s Specialist Group on Sustainable Use of Soils and Desertification, Prof. Rob Fowler, Chair of IUCN’s Academy on Environmental Law and Emeritus Prof. Ben Boer were among the Soils and Desertification specialists that participated in the conference delivering the topic from an international perspective. Dr. Hannam summarized 10 years of soil legislative investigations conducted by the IUCN Environmental Law Programme. Additionally, he mentioned the areas in which CEL and the Specialist Groups could contribute to the UNCCD process and commented on Case Studies from China and Mongolia. Prof. Rob Fowler spoke about legislation, the administrative aspects and emerging topics in the field of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD). The need for an international instrument for soils security and the sustainable use of this was covered by Prof. Ben Boer, who also shared with the audience a draft of the Protocol for CCD on Soil Security developed by the CEL Specialist Group on Sustainable Use of Soils and Desertification.

Local authorities also spoke during the conference stressing the topic’s importance from a national perspective. Dr. Maria Eugenia Di Paola, Executive Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Foundation, spoke about land-use planning, Strategic Environmental Evaluation, Biofuels, and Agrochemicals. She concluded that an integral strategy on how to adopt the agroindustrial model is fundamental and this must be considered in the fight against desertification and the obligations that come within the CMCC and CBD framework. Dr. Nestor Cafferatta, Inspection and Control Subsecretary of the Environment Secretariat, Argentina, presented Argentinean Law 22428 on Soils and emphasized the importance of reflecting two different points of view on soils; seeing it as an important agricultural resource and seeing it as a potential source of conflict for conservation. Finally, Dr. Ricardo Lorenzetti, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Argentina, explained the role of justice in Environmental Processes and mentioned that the topic of soils is no longer a passive policy, it has become a more active policy and a cross-cutting topic in environmental concerns.