Soil4Life - Soil4Life

LIFE17 GIE/IT/000477

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Contact details:

Contact person: Fabrizio SODDU
Tel: +39 (0)6 86268360
Email: f.soddu@legambiente.it

Project description:


Soil is a limited, non-renewable resource, essential for the wellbeing of humans and important ecosystem functions, such as food production, biodiversity, the regulation of water and carbon cycles and, ultimately, the balance of the whole biosphere. If soil quality deteriorates, there are negative impacts on air and water quality, biodiversity and climate change. It can also affect the health of citizens and endanger food safety. As such, soil resources must be protected and used in a sustainable way. The main European threats identified by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are soil contamination by industrial activities, consumption of soil for urban uses, and loss of organic carbon. However, there is little public awareness of the importance of soil resources.

Civil society organisations campaigned for a European Soil Directive, but this stopped in 2014 when the European Commission withdrew the working paper. A European Citizens Initiative (ECI) was then activated to acquire consent on the proposal. A network of about 450 organisations from all EU Member States joined the ECI campaign.


SOIL4LIFE will apply the FAO’s volunteer guidelines for sustainable soil management in a Mediterranean context (Italy, France, Croatia). It will promote sustainable and efficient use of soil to maximise ecosystem services.

Specific objectives include improving soil-related decision-making processes at national, regional and local levels, and raising awareness among stakeholders, farmers, professionals and citizens. This includes reaching around 2 million people through a media campaign. The project will also aim to make European institutions and Member States aware of the need to adopt appropriate regulations, and promote a reduction of land use in urban planning.

SOIL4LIFE contributes to the EU Thematic Soil Strategy and other EU policy initiatives to promote a more efficient and sustainable use of soil, including the Europe 2020 Strategy for growth and jobs.

Expected results:

  • Establishment of a permanent consultation board on sustainable soil management with institutional stakeholders;
  • Adoption of a Charter of Principles for Sustainable Soil Use by at least 12 regional and municipal authorities in Italy;
  • Adaptation for use in Rome and Milan of a digital simulator for land-use planning created by an earlier LIFE project (LIFE SAM4CP);
  • Launch of 10 regional observatories on soil consumption;
  • Some 5 000 farmers and/or farms adopt the voluntary guidelines on soil protection for farmers, and at least 600 professionals adopt voluntary guidelines on soil protection for professionals;
  • Around 800 farmers, 600-800 professionals and 60 regional representatives of the Italian agriculture federation trained in sustainable soil management;
  • A 20% increase in public awareness of the problem of unsustainable soil management;
  • Some 2 million people reached through an international awareness campaign;
  • Pilot in the city of Rome: establishment of a special office for the protection of soil, adoption of the municipal plan for permeability, and amendment of the General Building Regulation of the City of Rome; and
  • Pilot in Lombardy: two companies and 50 farmers involved, one technical seminar held for companies.



Environmental issues addressed:


Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry
Land-use & Planning - Soil and landscape protection


Agriculture‚  soil degradation‚  environmental awareness‚  environmental training‚  environmental law‚  ecosystem-based approach‚  land use

Target EU Legislation

  • Land & Soil
  • COM(2006)231 - “Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection” (22.09.2006)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Legambiente Onlus
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Legambiente is an environmental association in Italy. It has more than 1 000 local groups, 20 regional committees, and over 110 000 members and supporters. Legambiente carries out many awareness and information campaigns, and is among the promoters of the People4Soil international campaign for the promotion of a European directive on soil.
Partners The Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service, France Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori, Italy Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Italy ERSAF - Regional Agency for Agriculture and Forests, Italy Udruga Zelena Istra - Green Istria, Croatia Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale, Italy Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani, Italy RomaCapitale, Italy


Project reference LIFE17 GIE/IT/000477
Duration 01-OCT-2018 to 31-MAR -2022
Total budget 2,919,769.00 €
EU contribution 1,751,861.00 €
Project location Kontinentalna Hrvatska(Croatia Hrvatska) Mediterr. Croatia (CRO)(Croatia Hrvatska) Île,de,France(France) Champagne-Ardennes(France) Picardie(France) Haute-Normandie(France) Centre(France) Basse-Normandie(France) Bourgogne(France) Nord-Pas-De-Calais(France) Lorraine(France) Alsace(France) Franche-Comté(France) Pays de la Loire(France) Bretagne(France) Poitou-Charentes(France) Aquitaine(France) Midi-Pyrénées(France) Limousin(France) Rhône-Alpes(France) Auvergne(France) Languedoc-Roussillon(France) Provence-Alpes-Côte d' Azur(France) Corse(France) Guadeloupe(France) Martinique(France) Guyane(France) Réunion(France) Piemonte(Italia) Valle d'Aosta(Italia) Liguria(Italia) Lombardia(Italia) Trentino-Alto Adige(Italia) Veneto(Italia) Friuli-Venezia Giulia(Italia) Emilia-Romagna(Italia) Toscana(Italia) Umbria(Italia) Marche(Italia) Lazio(Italia) Campania(Italia) Abruzzo(Italia) Molise(Italia) Puglia(Italia) Basilicata(Italia) Calabria(Italia) Sicilia(Italia) Sardegna(Italia)


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