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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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CIRCASA project

Sustainable Soil Managment International Working Group

The 6th G20 MACS communiqué adopted in Potsdam, Germany and the 7th G20 MACS communiqué adopted in San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina acknowledged the potential of Sustainable Soil Management (SSM) to achieve food security against the background of changing climate conditions and a growing world population. As a follow-up activity, they supported the establishment of a working group jointly led by France and Russia in order to reinforce global cooperation in this area.
Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU, Prof. Pavel Krasilnikov) and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA, Dr. Jean-Francois Soussana) are co-chairs of this working group.


Current participating countries/organizations

Australia -CSIRO, Brazil – Embrapa, Canada-AAFC, France – INRA, Germany – Von Thünen Institute, Japan – MAAF & JIRCAS, the Netherlands – WUR, Russia – Lomonosov Moscow State University, European Commission, Global Research Alliance, 4per1000 initiative.


The objectives of this working group include: agricultural soil carbon conservation and sequestration, enhancing productivity through soil biodiversity and management, harmonizing soil study-related methods and approaches (soil analysis, soil classification, soil database). The last G20 MACS included those priorities in its final communiqué.

This working group will consider how to collaborate with other international initiatives on sustainable soil management and advance its priorities within existing initiatives, in order to cover research gaps. The possibility to attract funding to strengthen priorities not well covered yet shall also be considered. 


  • Two SSM Working Group online meetings held between interested countries and initiatives
  • Stocktake of current research and priorities for these countries
  • Outline of next steps
  • Terms of Reference are underway

Work plan

1. Soil data and soil information harmonization

  • In collaboration with Global Soil Partnership (GSP), pillar 5, advance standards for soil data exchange and accessibility. Relevant technical experts will be invited and the meeting will be open to all countries contributing to GSP. The meeting will address:
  • How to have interoperable data on soil profile and soil physical parameters,
  • How to improve soil characterization through new technologies

2. Soil biodiversity

In collaboration with the Global Soil Biodiversity and Terragenome initiatives and with GSP, define standards and agreements for international collaboration on advanced agricultural soil biodiversity (e.g. metagenomics) assessment methods.

  • Define pilot sharing agreements for the metagenomics data across research organizations
  • Advance biological data harmonization and their use for sustainable soil management.

3. Soil organic carbon

In collaboration with the GSP, with the 4 per 1000 initiative and with the European Commission funded project ‘Coordination of International Research Cooperation on soil CArbon Sequestration in Agriculture’ (CIRCASA):

  • Develop an international research consortium on agricultural soil carbon sequestration in order to maximize synergies across countries in knowledge development and sharing
  • Launch an open online collaborative platform for sharing knowledge on soil carbon sequestration between research, higher education, and stakeholders, including farmers organizations and extension services.