On December 14 2023, SOLO's partner, the University of Évora hosted their first Soil Week event in Oeiras, Portugal. The event was co-organised by the Associated Lab CHANGE (UÉ), PlanAPP (Competence Centre for Planning, Policy and Foresight), DGADR (General Directorate for Agriculture and Rural Development) and INIAV (National Institute for Agriculture and Veterinary Research). The meeting was attended by 90 experts, including scientists, public administrators, practitioners and technicians. The event was also the kick-off of another soil-related project called "Soil and Water 2030", developed by the University of Évora.
The event’s ultimate goal was to contribute to introducing soil health to the Portuguese political agenda, with key stakeholders and the general public coming together in a fruitful, all-encompassing and participated debate. The diversity of soil-related topics covered, as well as the various perspectives brought by the speakers, allowed the audience to grasp the overarching importance of soil health and, consequently, the urgency to act towards its restoration.
Teresa Pinto Correia from University of Évora and Carlos António Guerra, SOLO's coordinator/Credit: University of Évora
One of the main topics of discussion was the most prominent knowledge gaps in Portugal, such as the need for coordination among decision-makers, the research community, the private sector and civil society to co-create evidence-based public policy; lack of harmonisation among public policy instruments, resulting in trade-offs which are damaging to soil health restoration efforts; and the lack of knowledge transfer to producers, landowners and land managers.