EU Policy Forum and Open Webinar: Informing stakeholders on soil health indicators and the EU Soil Health Law

By combining the collaborative efforts of the EJP SOIL projects SIREN, SERENA, MINOTAUR, and the Work Package 6 consortia, stakeholders get valuable insights that will aid in the effective implementation of the EU Soil Health Law.

Photo: Audience takeaways from the policy forum.
Photo: Main takeaways from the audience at the open webinar.

On March 8th 2023, EJP SOIL Work Package 8 - Science to policy facilitated the Second EU Policy Forum online, engaging with EU and national level policy stakeholders. The upcoming EU Soil Health Law is a key focus for the EJP SOIL Programme, and the aim of the Policy Forum was to provide support to stakeholders based on the current scientific findings within the EJP SOIL Programme.

Initially in January of 2023, members of various internal EJP SOIL projects and work packages and two starting EU Soil Mission projects (BENCHMARKS, AI4SoilHealth) came together to discuss the current approaches available to evaluating soil health using indicators, and their pros and cons. Out of this internal meeting, findings from three key internal projects in addition to the work of Work Package 6 (WP6) were identified as ideal for sharing with policy stakeholders to help inform them on the current state of affairs with respect to soil health indicators and better support their future decision making when deciding upon national positions and feedbacks regarding the EU Soil Health Law.

100 policy stakeholders from 19 EU countries

The policy forum included presentations based on the work of the consortia of scientists involved in the SIREN, SERENA, MINOTAUR projects as well as EJP SOIL WP6. It was attended by around 100 policy stakeholders across 64 organizations and 19 EU countries. 73% of these attendees classified themselves as interacting and engaging with policy at a national level in their respective countries while the other 23% classified themselves as engaging and interacting with policy at European level. This forum promoted discussion on critical aspects of evaluating soil health. Some of the key audience takeaways from the policy forum included the complexity of indicators and the timing of science versus policy.

To further increase access to the supporting scientific knowledge provided by EJP SOIL, an open and interactive webinar around the same topic and summarizing the same content was held on Friday 12th May 2023. This open webinar was widely promoted within and outside of the EJP SOIL consortium and managed to gather 463 participants from 57 countries around the world. The 8 panelists answered around 75 questions posed by the audience, which together with Mentimeter questions to the audience and the lively discussion provided additional information and ideas to both the audience and the organizing consortia.

All recordings and copies of the presentations can be found on the Science to Policy Portal of the EJP SOIL Website.