Publications & tools

Position paper

ICLEI Europe's position on the Directive on Soil Monitoring and Resilience

Following the EU Soil Strategy, in July 2023, the European Commission published its proposal for a Directive on Soil Monitoring and Resilience. Unfortunately, the ambition of the Directive - even expressed by the now proposed title - does not meet the previously announced “Soil Health Law” criteria as the directive does not contain any binding protection measures / targets and it currently foresees a step by step approach by prioritising soil monitoring first and planning to suggest concrete targets in the following years. Given the current state of soil and land in the EU, the absence of robust targets that are aligned with European Green Deal objectives and other policies such as the Water Framework Directive risks slowing down the EU's ability to make meaningful progress in achieving healthy soils and meeting its global commitments, especially to UN SDG 15 ‘Life on Land’ and Goal 15.3 ‘End Desertification and restore degraded land’.

The Soil Monitoring and Resilience Directive should now be improved by co-legislators to ensure its coherence and effectiveness for the protection of soil. Some issues like soil compaction, sealing, and erosion are currently missing from or not well addressed in the existing legal framework, emphasising the need for a more comprehensive and robust legal protection. Additionally, the role of local and regional governments as owners, facilitators and regulators of land and soil is not sufficiently mentioned in the text, while an important knowledge and expertise on soil management lies within local and regional governments.

In this regard, ICLEI Europe has prepared the following position paper to be considered by the co-legislators, the European Parliament and the Council to strengthen the Commission’s proposal.


Goksen Sahin and Roger Roca Vallejo