The Department of Agriculture- Bureau of Soils and Water Management through the Soil and Water Resources Research Division (SWRRD) conducted the Philippine Soil Partnership (PSP) Action Area 1 Meeting on May 9, 2024 at the BSWM Convention Hall, Diliman, Quezon City. The PSP Action Area 1 focuses on Sustainable Soil/Land Management, Technical Cooperation, and Soil Governance.

The activity was attended by 60 participants from the PSP members representing the Government, Academe, Civil Society Organizations, and Private Sectors. It was graced by the Director of DA-BSWM, Dr. Gina P. Nilo, who highlighted the importance of partners in transforming the nation.

“Partnership is a harmonization, fellowship, and sharing. We cannot push for the agenda unless we partner. Let us make a transformed nation,” said Director Nilo.

Each sector was given the opportunity to present its previous and current initiatives on sustainable soil/land management (SSM/SLM). For the government sector, SSM/SLM initiatives were presented by Engr. Eduardo V. Alberto, Chief Agriculturist of DA-BSWM while for the private sector, Syngenta presented its Soil Health project activities in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao. For the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) presented its initiatives on integrated and diversified organic farming as an SSM approach while for the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), the Kalinga State University highlighted their initiatives on the Revival of the Vermiculture Project and the research proposals centered on SSM/SLM.  The Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM) was presented by Dr. Karen S. Bautista, Chief SRS of DA-BSWM, which discussed the guidelines and protocols on the SLM/SSM practices. Moreover, a workshop per sector was held for the nomination of the Technical Working Group members and consolidation of inputs for the PSP Action Area 1 Workplan for CY 2025.

The meeting aimed to convene the members to discuss the agreements from the 1st PSP Plenary Assembly, and plan activities and programs to be implemented in the respective action area. The Action Area Meeting is an avenue for strengthening the partnership and collaboration of all partners per Action Areas and setting direction for the succeeding years.

The PSP is the national adoption of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) that serves as a mechanism to develop a strong partnership and enhance collaboration between all stakeholders. The GSP used to operate through the five (5) Pillars of Action centered on SSM.

In 2022, it was transitioned to GSP Action Areas that use flexible action-oriented or outcomes-oriented approaches and was implemented to leverage the scale and scope of sustaining world soil resources. It is composed of 1) Sustainably manage and restore soils for the provision of ecosystem services; 2) Strengthen soil governance; 3) Promote knowledge and literacy on soils; 4) Promote awareness raising and advocacy on soil health; 5) Assess, map, and monitor soil health in a harmonized way; and 6) Foster technical cooperation including among genders and youth.

However, the PSP merged the six (6) GSP Action Areas into three (3), namely, 1) Sustainable Soil/Land Management, Fostering Technical Cooperation and Soil Governance; 2) Awareness Raising, Increasing Soil Literacy, and Advocacy on Soil Health; 3) Assessment, Mapping, and Monitoring of Soil Health.

For 2024, the PSP will be conducting three (3) consecutive meetings per GSP Action Area succeeding its organization and operationalization the previous year. The meeting for GSP Action Areas 2 and 3 meetings will be held in the 3rd quarter.

(Justine Alcantara, SWRRD)

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