Policy Programme

Sustainable natural systems and effective global policies: how to protect a resource that supports life on Earth 

Tuesday 2 August 10:00-17:30

The Soil Policy event will be the first session of its kind at the World Congress of Soil Science, drawing together an expert group of invited speakers to discuss the complexities, challenges and opportunities of soil policy and governance.

Soils are a diverse component of all terrestrial ecosystems, providing a wide range of ecosystem services that are important for our environment, society and economy, including food production, water regulation and climate regulation. This provisioning of ecosystem services has resulted in their overuse and exploitation from many different users, often exceeding the boundaries of the natural system.

The speakers, over three sessions, will explore a range of topics, including the practicalities of regulating soils; the effectiveness of current soil policy; how action can be implemented considering the range of stakeholders involved; what future soil policy could look like; and how to ensure the delivery of positive changes essential to not only reverse the degradation of soils but also ensure the future, sustainable use of all soils.

The Soil Policy sessions will be accessible for anyone attending the Congress with an in-person delegate pass for the 2 August. Single day delegate passes are available for those wishing to attend select elements of the programme without committing to the full scientific programme.

Session 1 Priorities and Strategies for Sustainable Soil Management

This first session will frame the context of this first Soil Policy event, introducing the complexities, priorities and strategies necessary for sustainable soil management.

Session 2 Delivering Effective Soil Policy Through Science

Speakers from a range of sectors and countries will explore how science is communicated beyond researchers and how the impact of research can be improved, including influencing behaviour change to achieve sustainable soil management through policy makers, land managers and regulators to effectively deliver multiple benefits.

Session 3 Achieving Behavioural Change in Sustainable Soil Management

The session will explore the next steps necessary to achieve the goals explored throughout the day, including the opportunities and the challenges.

To conclude the Soil Policy event, invited speakers will participate in a panel discussion to explore in more detail the main challenges and solutions necessary to ensure that soil policy is successfully delivered and adopted at the right scale considering the needs of the users, to enable its sustainable use and contribution to environmental targets such as net zero; climate change mitigation and adaptation; food security and biodiversity recovery. Questions will be taken from the audience throughout the Policy Session for the Panel.


Ruedi Stähli

Scientific Officer, Swiss Federal Office
Environment FOEN

Elena Havlicek

Scientific Officer Federal Office
Environment FOEN – Soil and Biotechnology Division

David McKay

Head of Policy (Scotland)
Soil Association

Cristine Morgan

Chief Scientific Officer
Soil Health Institute

John Gilliland

Director of Agriculture & Sustainability
Devenish Nutrition

Phil Jarvis

Chairman of Environment Forum

Ellen Fay

Founder & Executive Director
Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA)

Arwyn Jones

Joint Research Centre
European Commission

Mathew Williams

Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
Scottish Government

Jack Hannam, Carmen Sanchez-Garcia and Erik Button

Welsh Government Soil Policy Team
Cranfield University, Swansea University & Bangor University

Ronald Vargas

Soil Scientist
Global Soil Partnership (GSP)

Johan Bouma

Emeritus Professor of Soil Science
Wageningen University
© 2023 - The World Congress of Soil Science 2022 is a limited company, registered in England and Wales 12994006 and a Registered Charity No. 1192796
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