ZEF co-organizes session at first Global Soil Week

November 28, 2012.  

ZEF co-organized a session on "The economics of land degradation" with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)/GIZ at the first Global Soil Week (http://www.globalsoilweek.org) held in Berlin, Germany, from November 18-22, 2012. The Global Soil Week is an annual multi-stakeholder event on sustainable soil and land management issues across the world. This year the Soil Week was initiated by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany.

The ZEF –led session on Economics of Land Degradation was attended by more than 50 international participants. The main discussion evolved around the question how to develop a vision and strategies for a land degradation neutral world and how state-of-the-art research and country experiences of applying Sustainable Land Management practices can contribute to that. Another topic was how to achieve policy action and promote financial investments into Sustainable Land Management.

The participants stressed that soil is a non-renewable resource at risk of depletion despite its high relevance for food security and development. Therefore, a “net-zero degradation” goal is called for, which should be achieved with the appropriate instruments and policies in an effective and efficient way. Here the economics of degradation comes in.

While discussing the economic valuation of soil and land and their degradation, it was noted that land not only has a market value but also contains non-market values, i.e. ecosystems services values such as water systems. Both of these values need the attention of policy makers to foster sustainable and well-functioning land use systems that protect soils.

In addition, the participants reviewed and discussed the methodology of the assessment on the Economics of Land Degradation, which was developed jointly by ZEF and IFPRI. It is described in detail in the Global Soil Week Issue Paper: http://www.globalsoilweek.org/wp-content/uploads/GSW_IssuePaper_Economics-of-Land-Degradation.pdf

It was agreed upon that pragmatic approaches for assessing the economics of land and soil degradation should start with easy-to understand factors like the loss of productivity and related market value, as well as with the on- and off-site effects of degradation. The session provided a deeper insight into the costs of inaction regarding land degradation. Successful country experiences on sustainable land management were reviewed to identify opportunities for mutual learning and scaling up such success stories to other countries.

This session was organized within the frameworks of the recently launched ZEF project on Economics of Land Degradation (http://www.zef.de/1950.html), which is funded by BMZ, and conducted jointly with IFPRI and numerous other national and international partners.

The videos of the sessions can be watched on our youtube channel.



Alisher Mirzabaev

PD Dr. Alisher Mirzabaev