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Mission and objectives

The mission of the ESP is to facilitate and contribute to the exchange of knowledge and technologies about soils, its sustainable management and monitoring with a view to improve soil functioning for food security, ecosystem services, and for mitigating climate change and other hazards. In Europe, many regional networks exist with specialized focus such as research, conservation agriculture, soil awareness, while others represent stakeholders and drivers (farmers, advisors, producers).

The main objectives of the ESP are:
a) support the implementation of the Six Action Areas as identified by the Global Soil Partnership (GSP);
b) support ESP region-specific aspects related to the Global Soil Protection Agenda;
c) support other European soil-related activities through transparent communication and summary of outcomes

Terms of Reference

The European Soil Partnership (ESP) was established in October 2013 during the second Global Soil Week, with the aim to bring all networks and soil related activities under a common framework. The ESP operates according to its own Terms of Reference (2016) (update 2023 is in preparation).

Read more under Governance.

Plenary Meetings

The plenary meeting is the main forum of the ESP partners and will be held once per year. Urgent and ad-hoc topics are discussed via e-consultation and video conferences.

The 10th meeting of the European Soil Partnership (ESP) took place on 4 and 5 May 2023 (two half days) (see agenda (PDF) and meeting report (PDF). The meeting was held virtually on the online platform Webex. 70 participants from 26 countries attended the plenary meeting, including 15 country focal points, representatives of the European Commission, and representatives from the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) Secretariat. The meeting was chaired by the ESP Chair, Mr Rainer Baritz (European Environment Agency), with the support of the ESP Secretariat, Ms Nicole Wellbrock (Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries).

The meeting addressed the role of ESP in the context of European activities, research programmes, and regulations and how to adapt to the new GSP Action Framework 2022–2030 and other global actions relevant to soil management and governance, such as the agreements stemming from the three Rio conventions. At the meeting, the work agenda of the ESP for the period 2023–2024 was discussed and defined.

For more details, please read the meeting report (PDF).

The history and an archive of all previous ESP annual meetings can be found on the FAO / Regional Partnerships website.


The Partnership is open to institutions and stakeholders willing to actively contribute to sustainable soil management in Europe.
Partners commit to engage actively in promoting participation and ensuring effective empowerment of the ESP; any interested party can join this partnership upon registration as GSP member. Any European GSP member is automatically member of the ESP. Any other interested partner to the ESP can receive dissiminated information upon the ESPs-extented contact list. Please contact the secretariat.

See the list of partners.

Read more under Governance.

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