Soil health and food (Horizon Europe)
There is no life without soils. If soils are healthy and sustainably managed, they provide food, clean water, habitats for biodiversity and other important services while contributing to climate resilience. We take these services for granted, but in fact soils are a scarce and a threatened resource, all over Europe and globally. 60-70% of EU soils are unhealthy, mainly as a result of current management practices. The effects of climate change are putting further pressure on this key resource.
The intended mission’s goal, as specified in the mission report is to ensure that “by 2030 at least 75% of soils in each EU Member State are healthy, or show a significant improvement towards meeting accepted thresholds of indicators, to support ecosystem services".
To reach its goal and objectives, the identified mission foresees actions across territories (rural and urban areas) and sectors. It will therefore have wide-reaching impact on practices in agriculture, forestry, the food sector and other industries (e.g. biobased and waste) as well as on land use planning in rural and urban areas. To be successful, the Mission requires that consumers and society at large know about soils, appreciate their value and actively contribute to soil friendly practices including through consumer choices. It is worth noting that many of the actions to address soil health have a direct impact on the goals of all other identified missions: carbon sequestration in soil supports climate mitigation, targeted nutrient management will lead to improvements in water quality, soils are the foundation of green urban infrastructure and nature based solutions (e.g. urban flood protection) while a reduction in soil pollution reduces the risk of cancer.
Full implementation of the mission is subject to confirmation following the preparatory phase. Proposals for topics under this mission should set out a credible pathway to contributing to the mission’s goal and objectives, and more specifically to several of the following impacts:
- “Soil literacy”, awareness and societal appreciation of the vital functions of soils is increased including awareness on links between healthy soils, nutritious and safe food and a healthy environment.
- Land managers, industries, consumers and society at large work together and take effective action on soil health across sectors and land uses, as informed by best available science, thereby alleviating not only the immediate pressure on soils but also on the surrounding environment including water bodies.
- Soil health is a starting point for systemic transformations across value chains and territories: practices in agriculture, forestry, industries and in urban areas support healthy soils and their ecosystems services.
- Robust soil monitoring programmes and common definitions are in place (based on common, harmonised measurements) and allow land managers and public authorities to take effective actions based on up to date information from all Member States and Associated Countries.
- The successful implementation of the mission supports several EU policy and international commitments ranging from land degradation neutrality, food and nutrition security to biodiversity (e.g. SDGs, UNCCD, UN CBD, Green Deal, CAP, revision of Soil Thematic Strategy).
Call topics for 2021
Gesamtbudget: 5 MEUR
Vollen Text der Horizon Europe Missions (2021-2022) finden Sie hier.