28-31 Mar 2017 La Grande Motte (near Montpellier) (France)

The 4 per mil address

Soils for food security and the climate

Adressing main societal challenges: science and action

Speaker: Prof. Claire Chenu

INRA AgroParisTech Thiverval-Grignon (France)

FAO ambassador for the the International Year of Soil global campain



The "4 parts per 1000" initiative proposes to increase organic matter contents and encourage carbon sequestration in soils, through the application of appropriate farming and forestry practices. It would ensure that agriculture plays its part in combating climate change.

A 4/1000 annual growth rate of the soil carbon stock intends to show that even a small increase in the soil carbon stock (agricultural soils, notably grasslands and pastures, and forest soils) is crucial to improve soil fertility and agricultural production and to contribute to achieving the long-term objective of limiting the temperature increase to +1,5/2°C.


Healthy soils ensuring food security and helping curb climate change

Soil degradation poses a threat to more than 40% of the Earth’s land surface and climate change is accelerating the rate of degradation, with major impacts on food security and small farmers. Our capacity to feed 9.5 billion people in 2050 in the face of a changing climate will depend greatly on our ability to keep our soils fertile.

Restoring degraded agricultural lands and increasing the soil carbon rate play an important role in addressing the three-fold challenge of food security, adaptation of food systems and people to climate change, and mitigation of human-induced emissions.

The 4/1000 Initiative engages stakeholders in shifting towards resilient agriculture through sustainable soil management that generates jobs and incomes, thereby ensuring sustainable development.

The 4/1000 Initiative: One Vision

The Initiative also aims to strengthen existing synergies between the three Rio Conventions - the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) - and the Committee for Food Security (CFS), the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Courses of Action

Governments and local authorities can:

  • Implement training programmes for farmers and agricultural advisors that aim to enhance organic matter in soils;
  • Contribute financially to carbon sequestration development projects;
  • Develop policies that promote sustainable management of soils.

Development banks, donors and private companies can:

  • Support development projects that facilitate the dissemination and implementation of sustainable agricultural practices;
  • Finance development projects, training courses or the implementation of measurement, reporting and verification systems.

Farmers' and food producers’ organizations can:

  • Work together with the scientific community and NGOs to encourage sustainable agricultural practices.

How to join the 4/1000 Initiative

The Initiative's partners will share the actions they commit to undertake as well as the results achieved via an online platform, and regular stocktaking meetings will also be held. To join the initiative:

  • State actors or public entities should contact the French Embassy.
  • Non-state actors such as private businesses, professional organizations, foundations and NGOs should register their commitments here on the NAZCA portal, stating that they support the 4/1000 initiative. Commitments should include a specific target, resources dedicated and a timeline and identify themselves at 4p1000.dgpe@agriculture.gouv.fr
Online user: 1 RSS Feed