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Policy context

Despite the range of activities, which ultimately depend on soil, there is no specific EU legislation on soil protection. To date, and unlike water and air, soil protection is addressed indirectly or within sectoral policies: water, waste, chemicals, industrial pollution prevention, nature protection, pesticides, and agriculture. Unfortunately, as these policies are not focused on soil, they are insufficient in ensuring an adequate level of protection for all soils in Europe.

However, over the past five years there has been some progress, in terms of both policy development and the availability of information. The European Commission's thematic strategy on soil has marked an important first step in EU soil policy; as it focuses on its protection as an essential element of sustainable development. This strategy, adopted in 2006, also includes a legislative proposal. Detailed information on the Soil Thematic Strategy is available at the European Commission internet site on soil policy: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/soil/index.htm

At the global level, soil degradation is being addressed by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). In Europe, the Convention is implemented through two regional annexes; Annex IV, Northern Mediterranean and Annex V, Central and Eastern Europe. Further information can be found through the UNCCD Secretariat web site: http://www.unccd.int/convention/menu.php

 

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