FAO: Simposio globale sulla biodiversità del suolo 19-22 aprile 2021

Virtual science-policy meeting will also focus on private sector actions on soil biodiversity/soil health

The health of our soil depends on the presence of a vast community of living organisms ranging from bacteria and fungi to earthworms, insects and vertebrates, all of which constitute soil biodiversity.

Together, they perform a multitude of ecosystem functions and provide key ecosystem services that are critical for supporting agriculture and food security. These include, regulating nutrient cycles; controlling the dynamics of soil organic matter; supporting soil carbon sequestration; regulating greenhouse gas emissions; modifying soil physical structure and soil water regimes; reducing and regulating soil contamination; enhancing the amount and efficiency of nutrient acquisition by vegetation through symbiotic associations and nitrogen fixation by bacteria. In addition, these organisms influence plant, animal, soil and human health through the interaction of pathogens and pests with their natural predators and parasites, by providing natural defenses, and by serving as a source of medicines and nutrients.

From 19-22 April 2021 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations will be hosting the Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity 2021.  Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic the event will be virtual. It will bring together government officials, international organisations, land users, and a wide array of experts on soil science and biodiversity.

The event is jointly organized by FAO and its Global Soil Partnership, the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, and the Science-Policy Interface of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

The Symposium’s main objective will be to fill some critical knowledge gaps, identify scalable solutions to global challenges through enhanced soil biodiversity, and promote discussion among policy makers, food producers, scientists, practitioners and other stakeholders on solutions to live in harmony with nature, and ultimately, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through the conservation and sustainable use of soil biodiversity.

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu will deliver a statement at the High-Level Opening Session on Monday, 19 April 2021.

The Symposium will also feature a session focusing on the private sector actions on soil biodiversity/ soil health and a review of the status of global soil biodiversity.

During the High-Level Opening Session FAO will launch “The magical world of soil biodiversity – A collection of 10 children’s stories from around the world” and the Poster Exhibition and Contest.

The Symposium, will be on Zoom (register here). Simultaneous interpretation in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish will be provided.

The GSOBI21 can be followed on social media using the hashtag #SoilBiodiversity


Monday, 19 -22 April, 13:00 -16:00 (Rome time)


  • QU Dongyu, Director-General, FAO
  • Renato Alvarado Rivera, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica
  • Yasmine Salah ElDin Fouad, Minister for Environment, Arab Republic of Egypt
  • Virginijus Sinkevicius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, European Union
  • Tang Renjian, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, People’s Republic of China
  • Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
  • Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity