PAP maps first steps for model legislation on sustainable soil management in Africa

The Permanent Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment gathered on the last day of the Sitting of the Permanent Committees in Midrand, to establish the way forward on development of the ‘Soil Management Model Law’ for the continent.

In collaboration with technical experts from the Development and Rule of Law Programme (DROP) of the University of Stellenbosch and the German Environment Agency (UBA), the Committee Chair Hon. Kone DOGNON shared country findings from a research study that covered soil management practices in Cameroon, Zambia and Kenya.

Dr. Pamela SAMBO said the research found that unsustainable agricultural practices, including use of chemical substances such as pesticides, were responsible for soil degradation in the three countries. The trio had detailed environmental legislation in place, but none of them specifically touched on soil preservation.

Experts put emphasis on soil health; as an important mechanism to eradicate poverty and reduce the displacement of people as a result of climate change.

The baseline study provides a way forward in addressing soil health in Africa, including access to funding and recommendations on how to tackle poor enforcement at a local level, specifically the harnessing of traditional practices that are not captured in formal statutory law.

DROP Director, Prof. Dr Oliver RUPPEL said the progress made was remarkable.

“We are highly encouraged by the dedication to the movement aimed to improve the legal protection mechanisms related to sustainable soil management and give more prominence to land degradation in Africa,” he said, underscoring that issues of climate change, food security and land use are closely integrated and are cross-cutting in the realisation of the SDGs.

This assignment is undertaken just a year after the successful establishment of the Alliance on the Sustainable Development Goals (ASDGs). Dr. Harald GINZKY from the German Environment Agency applauded the work and progress of the Committee and encouraged Parliament to take part in the international workshop which will be dedicated to sharing experiences on soil preservation, in 2021.