FAO will host a Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP18) at its Headquarters in Rome, Italy on 2 – 4 May 2018. This Symposium, jointly organized by the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and the World Health Organization (WHO) is part of the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management and a direct contribution to the third UN Environment Assembly's resolution on managing soil pollution to achieve sustainable development.
Soil pollution implies the presence of a chemical out of place or present at higher than normal concentrations that has adverse effects on any non-targeted organism. Pollutants can enter soils from a wide range of sources including agricultural inputs, atmospheric deposition, flood and irrigation water, accidental spills, inappropriate waste disposal, and industrial activities. As it cannot always be directly observed in the field, soil pollution is insidiously hazardous. Negative consequences include plant toxicities and subsequent productivity declines, contamination of water and off-site areas and increased human and animal health risks due to the accumulation of contaminants in the food-chain.
The objectives of the Symposium are:
- Examine the current scientific understanding of soil pollution and its effects on food production and safety, and human health;
- Reflect on the impact of land use decisions on soil pollution at the national level;
- Identify limitations and prioritize key challenges related to remediation;
- Review existing international frameworks addressing sources of pollution to agricultural land; and,
- Survey the use of soil thresholds globally.