05 Dec 2022

World Soil Day 2022 and its campaign "Soils: Where food begins" aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the growing challenges in soil management, increasing soil awareness and encouraging societies to improve soil health.


World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on 5 December as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources. The establishment of an international day to celebrate soil was recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. After being endorsed at the FAO Conference in 2013, World Soil Day was formally recognized by the UN General Assembly.

2022 Theme – Soils: where food begins

Like us, soils need a balanced and varied supply of nutrients in appropriate amounts to be healthy. Agricultural systems lose nutrients with each harvest, and if soils are not managed sustainably, fertility is progressively lost. Soil nutrient loss is recognized as being among the most critical problems at a global level for food security and sustainability all around the globe. Currently, it is estimated that 2 billion people worldwide suffer from lack of micronutrients.

Soil degradation induces some soils to be nutrient depleted losing their capacity to support crops, while others have such a high nutrient concentration that represent a toxic environment to plants and animals, pollutes the environment and cause climate change.

Key Messages on #WorldSoilDay #Soils4Nutrition

  • Soils, through their extraordinary capacity to form, store, transform, and recycle the nutrients, produce 95% of our food.
  • 18 naturally occurring chemical elements are essential to plants. Soils supply 15.
  • About 33% of the global soils are already degraded, and over 90% could become degraded by 2050.
  • Soils have a key role in all four dimensions of food security: availability, access, utilisation and stability.
  • Agricultural production will have to increase by 60% to meet the global food demand in 2050.
  • Up to 58% more food could be produced through sustainable soil management.


The official celebration for World Soil Day will be held online on 5 December at 12:20 CET from the FAO headquarters in Rome. Events in Geneva will be listed below.

More on Soils, Food and the Environment

Food is at the center of human lives, and so are the soils that support food systems. However, unsustainable food production and consumption practices have led to environmental degradation, including soil degradation, and exacerbated climate change. In return, food systems suffer from climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

Land and soil degradation pose a major threat to global food security and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – compromising the well-being of at least 3.2 billion people around the world. Loss of soil biodiversity, soil erosion, pollution and salinization are all critical issues that need to be addressed to ensure food security, livelihoods, and health for all.

As the leading organization on the issue, FAO provides numerous resources to better understand the role of soil and food systems for a sustainable future, as well as challenges and ways forward. From a Geneva perspective, our dedicated page provided useful resources on this nexus and the organizations in Geneva working on these issues. In light of recent international negotiations and debates on plastic pollution, the role of plastics in agriculture and the subsequent soil pollution has also been under focus. Find more information in our Plastics and the Environment series.

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