On December 7, within the framework of this year’s celebration of the World Soil Day, the Secretary General of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), Arianna Giuliodori, joined as a speaker the special event hosted by the Permanent Missions of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Lesotho to the United Nations, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

Under the title “Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity”, the event aimed to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the growing challenges in soil management, fighting soil biodiversity loss, increasing soil awareness and encouraging governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world to commit to proactively improving soil health.

The high-level representatives joining the debate included H.E. Vitavas Srivihok, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations; H.E. Munir Akram, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in New York; H.E. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of FAO; H.E. Nkopane Raseeng Monyane, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the United Nations.

During her speech, WFO Secretary-General underlined how soil health is an entry point to multiple benefits, not only enhanced biodiversity but also improved food quality, sustainable water management, increased yields, climate mitigation and adaptation.

She called for a systemic and holistic approach as key to succeed in the transition towards more sustainable food systems, reminding that soil can drive layers and layers of different benefits.

WFO Secretary General emphasized that the only actor owning the biggest share – and burden – in managing soil health are the farmers who care the most about soil health, no matter what and where they farm. “For farmers, Soil Health is not philosophy: it is a matter of survival of their farm and their family!“, Arianna Giuliodori stated.

Investing in soil health is the first asset for sustainable food systems, and farmers are key actors for driving the transition, with a conducive environment, the right information, training, innovation and financial support.

Closing her speech, WFO Secretary-General didn’t miss the opportunity to thank all those women and men that live their life with their hands in the ground every day.

Stand by farmers, our soil heroes!