Since 2020 and the COVID crisis, the attention of politicians and private players seemed to be now focused on the environmental challenges of our modes of economic development. Climate change, biodiversity, to which we can add desertification, were given top priority, and we sensed a general movement of hope to meet these global challenges, along with the need for food security and health for all.

We have seen countries turning in on themselves, with less impetus for solidarity and international cooperation and, at the same time, a greater quest for self-sufficiency and autonomy in their food supply. The increase in the price of energy, raw materials, fertilizers and therefore foodstuffs, as well as the inflation that has resulted, have put political decision-makers in the position of having to make the wrong but understandable choices, obscuring the longer-term future in favor of short-term considerations.

Considerations about our soils and their health have taken second place, even though many of us still claim and repeat that soil health is the only guarantee of humanity's future on the planet, and the prerequisite for combating climate change, biodiversity erosion, desertification, and food insecurity.

The Initiative has placed strong emphasis on the regional dimension, with no fewer than three regional or sub-regional conferences in 2023: West Africa, Northern Europe, and Asia-Pacific. On each occasion, fruitful partnerships have been forged and appropriate funding found. It is important to emphasize here the extent to which this close cooperation and collaboration between ministries, international and regional organizations, NGOs, scientific institutions, producer organizations and businesses has enabled these meetings to be organized, all of which have resulted in elements of roadmaps to be implemented at regional level. It is through concrete actions of this kind that the Initiative will have an impact on the ground in favor of soils, soil carbon sequestration and soil health.

The COP 28 will be an opportunity that we must not miss to put soil health at the top of the international agenda of the Rio Conventions. The Executive Secretariat hopes that many representatives of the Initiative's partners, members and friends will be able to take part in the "4 per 1000" day, as well as in the many side-events organized by the Initiative or in which the Initiative will be taking part.

This year, the World Soil Day will be during the COP 28, we are thus calling for a massive commitment from everyone in organizing of many parallel events around soil health, carbon sequestration in soils and agroecology.

Forum and Consortium meetings will take place on December 6 at the Dusit Thani Hotel. The tentative program of our Initiative Day is now online, along with the registration form (free but compulsory). 

Let's continue the work of our network, our community, indeed our family, in favor of our common good: soil and soil health!

Yours sincerely

Paul LUU

Executive Secretary of the international "4 per 1000" Initiative

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