Regional Guidelines for Soil Legislation in the Balkans

An international conference was held in Belgrade, Serbia from 25-28 September
2007 on Soil Erosion and Torrent Control as a Factor in Sustainable River Basin
Management, to celebrate 100 years of experience with soil erosion control in the
Balkan region.

Participants of the Soil Legislation Conference in Belgrade, Serbia, September 2007

The conference was organized by the Faculty of Forestry, Belgrade University, in cooperation with the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation, the International Sediment Initiative (ISI-UNESCO), and the World Association for Sedimentation and Erosion Research (WASER). Participant countries included Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Iran and Hungary.

A broad range of topics were discussed including river basin dynamics, river basin models, GIS and remote sensing methodologies and applications, soil conservation strategies, capacity building in science, education, legislative, policy and strategic techniques, biological techniques, methods to determine flood
zones and erosion risk zones, influence of land use on soil erosion, and impact of climate change on land, water and vegetation.

A key aspect of the conference was the discussions on the benefits of a uniform approach in legislative development and institutional roles for soil and water conservation across the Balkan countries. A number of papers presented at the conference discussed the inadequacies of existing legislation to manage land
degradation problems, in particular Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia. It was decided that the preparation of a guideline which can be used as a resource document for these States to draw on to reform their existing legislation to protect and manage soil, to establish direction for drafting new national legislation for the
sustainable use of soil, and to assist in the establishment or reform of associated institutions to manage and protect the ecological integrity of soil, should be pursued. The guideline could be used as the basis for framing specialised legislation specifically addressing soil matters, or for assisting the process of integrating legislative elements for soil within an existing environmental law, or framing a new broad environmental law. The conference has requested the assistance of the CEL Specialist Group for Sustainable Use of Soil and Desertification to prepare the guidelines. A coordinated group was formed at the conference to liaise with the Specialist Group and a concept paper will be prepared in the first instance.

Prepared by Dr Ian Hannam, Co-Chair of CEL Specialist Group on Sustainable
Use of Soil and Desertification (SGSS&D).

Work area: 
Environmental Law
Environmental Law
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