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Dear Colleagues,

2018 has been a very rich and intense year for COMMON FORUM: soil awareness raising worldwide, new activities, emerging ideas for the future of our network, intense exchange on several issues, new challenges due to copy right issues and data protection regulation...

Considering our discussions on UN SDGs and given the target by 2030 we should aim in enhancing information and knowledge transfer. Organising between COMMON FORUM members is our major target: Nevertheless during the next years we may as well reach out to strengthen connections from local/regional level to the European level and globally.

During 2019, some major events will bring more opportunities: the COMMON FORUM Spring meeting (May 8-10, Luxembourg), AquaConSoil 2019 (May 20-24, Antwerp, Belgium) and ICCL 2019 meeting (October 2019, Lima, Perú).

Have pleasant Christmas holidays and a good start for a fruitful, happy New Year and looking forward to working together again in 2019!

Martha and Dietmar


Our next COMMON FORUM Network meeting
will be held in Luxembourg hosted by Ministère du Développement durable et des Infrastructures
8 - 10 May 2019

Recent changes / new members of representations within the COMMON FORUM:

New guests from our partner network in Latin-America:

  • ReLASC (Red – September 2018:
    - Sheila Zacarias & Pedro Sifuentes Pedro (ReLASC Secretariat, c/o Ministerio del Ambiente, Perú)
    replacing Achim Constantin

A warm welcome!

Mercury in Europe’s environment – A priority for European and global action

EEA Report No 11/2018

The EEA report describes the problem of mercury pollution and the challenges in addressing the issue globally. The main source of new mercury emissions in Europe is coal burning but about half of the mercury deposited in Europe’s environment originates from outside Europe. According to the report, mercury presents the biggest risk in rivers, lakes and oceans where it takes a highly toxic form that is absorbed by animals, including fish.


European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) - Newsletter

ESDAC Newsletter No.114 (October - November 2018) -

WORLD SOIL DAY, 5 Dec. 2018

Be the Solution to Soil Pollution - Video

“Stop Soil Pollution” was the objective of this World Soil Day on 5 December 2019 and throughout the year. In this context a video was produced on soil as a complex growing habitat that remains productive only if it is cared for and nurtured. Combating and addressing soil pollution is the only way to minimize the risks for food security, human health and the environment.

Soil pollution - a hidden reality

European Soil Partnership (ESP) – 6th Plenary Meeting

The 2019 European Soil Partnership Plenary Meeting is scheduled from 28-29 March 2019 and will take place at the facilities of the FAO headquarter in Rome. Details will follow in the beginning of 2019.

14th meeting of the International Committee on Contaminated Land 2019

The 14th ICCL meeting will be held in Lima, Perú in October 2019 (tentative date October 23 – 25) hosted by the Peruvian Ministry of Environment in its capacity as Presidency to ReLASC.

The envisaged themes of the 14th meeting are as follows:

  • Mercury contaminated sites management and the application of Minamata convention
  • Main aspects of/ How to make the risk assessment and conceptual model on contaminated sites
  • Stockholm Convention & Managing POP contamination
  • Remediation of contaminated sites by heavy metals
  • Economic aspects of the management of contaminated sites: management tools, costbenefit analysis, innovative strategies for financing

The final confirmation on dates and venue is expected to get announced together with a call for contributions by early January 2019.

NICOLE Spring Workshop 2019

The NICOLE spring workshop on Smart Land Management Solutions (case studies) will be held from 12 – 14 June 2019 in Lyon, France.

The idea is to have a workshop that goes beyond the theoretical, pilot and demonstration level and instead is able to bring cases where a smart solution led to a significantly better outcome than a more traditional approach would have done.

New documents on EUGRIS, the platform for European contaminated soil and water information. Resources, events projects and news items added on EUGRIS can be viewed at: www.eugris.info/whatsnew.asp. Then select the appropriate month and year for the updates in which you are interested. However, here is a selection of new additions to EUGRIS in 2018 prepared by Paul Bardos (r3 Environmental Technology Ltd) for COMMON FORUM members.

10th International Groundwater Quality Conference – GQ 2019

GQ is a triennial conference dedicated to Groundwater Quality organised on behalf of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) and supported by the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), the H2020 Marie Curie ITN INSPIRATION project and the CL:AIRE and NICOLE professional organisations.

The 10th International Groundwater Quality Conference (GQ 2019) will be held in Liège (Belgium) from 9-12 September 2019. The theme “Groundwater quality in the transition between rural and urban environments” will focus on the need to protect, manage, repair and sustain groundwater quality in these growing urbanized environments.

Call for abstracts is open until 1 March 2019.


Soil-Related Sustainable Development Goals - Four Concepts to make Land Degradation Neutrality and Restoration Work

Land 2018, Volume 7, Issue 4, 133
Keesstra S., G. Mol, J. de Leeuw, J. Okx, C. Molenaar, M. de Cleen, S. Visser

To avoid further land degradation and promote land restoration, multifunctional use of land is needed within the boundaries of the soil-water system. Healthy soil is essential to achieve our societal challenges. Stakeholders are not always aware of the importance of a good working soilwater system as a basis for their societal goals. Through several international workshops a dialogue to connect stakeholders with soil and land claims was started. The gained experiences were summarized in an article which has recently been published.


The need for soil protection legislation at EU level Position paper of the German Environment Agency

By October 2018 the German Environment Agency has launched a Position paper discussing options on how to further develop soil protection within the European Union.

The Position paper clarifies advantages and disadvantages of two regulatory alternatives. Besides the possibility of restarting on a Framework Directive the 2nd option could be targeted on specific sectors, particularly (i) contamination, (ii) land take/soil use and (iii) agriculture. It is recommended to start dialogue at the European level by inviting selected groups of experts for workshops to discuss possible regulatory approaches and options as set out by the Position paper.

English version

What are the health costs of environmental pollution?

Environmental pollution causes death, pain and suffering. How do we estimate the economic impact of these health damages on society? And what should we pay to reduce or avoid the damage? The new Future Brief explores how to assign an economic value to the health impacts of pollution. Costing health impacts has a number of uses in environmental policymaking, from communicating the burden of pollution to informing taxes on polluting activities. Two infographics accompany this report.

This report outlines some of the methodologies that have been used to account for the health costs of environmental pollution, both in Europe and other parts of the world. The strengths and weaknesses of each methodology are considered, and their potential applications explored. Finally, the future directions of research in this field are investigated.

Download Future Brief

New research suggests that alternatives to legacy PFASs may be no safer

PFASs — per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — are a family of chemicals used in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications. Due to concerns about their persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity, long-chain PFASs are increasingly being phased out, creating a growing market for alternatives. Researchers have developed a novel method, based on molecular simulation techniques, to estimate the rate at which novel PFASs interact and bind with particular proteins (‘binding affinity’) — an important factor in determining a substance’s bioaccumulation potential in organisms. The method indicates that replacement PFASs may be just as bioaccumulative as original (legacy) PFASs and are, therefore, not necessarily safer. If correct, this finding has significant policy implications.


From: "Science for Environment Policy": European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.

Source: Cheng, W. and Ng, C. A. (2018). Predicting Relative Protein Affinity of Novel Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) by An Efficient Molecular Dynamics Approach. Environmental Science & Technology, 52: 7972-7980.

Opportunities for soil sustainability in Europe

EASAC report on Soil Sustainability

Soils provide numerous essential services in terrestrial ecosystems, ranging from the support of plant growth in agriculture and forestry to moderation of flood risks, water purification, large-scale carbon storage, and support of biodiversity. However, despite soils’ essential roles, they are threatened by sealing, compaction, reductions in quality and organic-carbon content, and erosion, and insufficiently included in sustainability planning in the EU. A multidisciplinary group of European experts (including JRC) has examined the implications of recent scientific research for integrated policy solutions towards ensuring the sustainability of Europe’s soils, and identified many opportunities for policy-makers to safeguard this valuable resource for the benefit of the EU’s citizens.


Conference Proceedings from REMEDIATE International Conference 2018

The REMEDIATE Innovative Training Network comprises eight beneficiaries from five EU member states (UK, Ireland, Germany, Denmark and Italy) and 18 partner organizations. All participants in the project are committed to providing innovative research and training for more cost-effective and sustainable remediation of contaminated land. The network is a multidisciplinary collaboration between international research teams from academia and industry, each with complementary expertise in a wide range of site investigation and risk assessment technologies.

REMEDIATE International Conference took place from 19th - 20th September 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. The abstracts of this conference present the work across seven universities as organized in 4 themes (Contaminated Land Biology; Site Modeling, Risk Assessment and Risk Communication; Chemical Analysis, Monitoring and Prediction; and Advances in Land Management and Resource Recovery View):


See all announcements on COMMON FORUM website

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