JOINING FORCES FOR SUSTAINABLE LAND USE AND SOIL PROTECTION
Soils are affected in their functions by their use for purposes such as traffic, housing, economy, leisure, inappropriate intensification of agriculture, etc. This leads to excessive soil sealing. Soil is also a scarce resource which is renewable only during several generations and at high costs. This applies in particular to Alpine Regions, where soil formation processes are especially slow due to geological and climatic conditions, and where the permanent settlement area and productive land are limited. Furthermore, land take and improper use of soils put considerable pressure on sensitive ecosystems and increases tangible effects of climate change, like erosion and landslides. Therefore, appropriate instruments have to be elaborated and applied in order to minimize or even to avoid the consumption of soils.
The objective of this initiative is to develop a common and comprehensive approach for an Alpine-wide implementation of careful land use as well as of quantitative and qualitative soil protection. Due to the fact that spatial planning and soil conservation are cross-cutting issues, many stakeholders are affected and have to be integrated into a long-term process. A declaration of the Alpine Regions and States on how to intelligently reduce land take and on soil protection could be the blueprint on how to establish a sound and effective governance system for a topic, which is important for the whole Alpine macro-region.
What has been achieved?
A political Declaration on “Sustainable Land Use and Soil Protection” within the territory of the EUSALP has been elaborated. After the adoption by the members of AG 6 a public consultation to collect the feedback of interested institutions and civil society organizations was carried out. The political coordination process led to the support of the Declaration by a considerable/substantial/extensive/large number of Alpine Regions and States.The supporters of the Declaration commit to cooperate towards sustainable land use and healthy soils, in particular with regard to applying and enhancing the implementation of existing regulations, coordinating and improving data collection and monitoring systems, fostering inner-urban development and planning infrastructure and mining prudently, encouraging awareness raising, capacity building and experience exchange, facilitating and living participation, establishing and strengthening regional, national and cross-border co-operations.
Coherence with EUSALP Action Plan
The initiative is fully in line with the EUSALP Action Plan, which states "Strengthening soil protection and sustainable land use in the Alps, in particular regarding the issues of land take and soil sealing and the risk of landslides” as an example of a possible project within Action 6.