Expert Panel 13

Healthy soils to combat climate change and end hunger

4 per 1000

Time: Thursday, 21. January 2021, 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Languages: English, German

The panel was moderated by Dr. Luu, the Executive Secretary of the “4 per 1000” Initiative. The German Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, send an opening video in which she stated the importance of healthy soils. Followed by Mr. Zornbach, Head of Division for Sustainability, Climate protection and Climate impacts at the BMEL who compared Soil to a Diamond.

Four panelists from different stakeholder groups gave impulse speeches: Claire Chenu (STC) was talking in behalf of science, Victoria Prentis (Under-Secretary of State, UK) presenting the governance side, Natacha Agbo (NGO Afris) speaking for NGO/Farmers Oganizations and Florence Jeantet (OP2B) for Agri-Food Businesses.

Key messages were:

  • Soil is a diamond we need to polish carefully for the next generations
  • Soil health is important for mitigation, adaptation and food security
  • 4p1000, backed up by solid scientific findings, is one of the major instruments for the implementation of Paris Agreement
  • In order to reverse the severe soil degaration globally, we need to improve our soil policy with the goal of paying farmers for taking care of soils
  • The concept of twin regions, raises major interest as an instrument to achieve climate justice and international solidarity through the large-scale transformation to soil regeneration, agroecology and sustainable land management
  • Living labs as a research approach with NGOs as key partners can bring the research and the farmers community closer together.


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Dr. Paul Luu is an agronomist specialized in tropical agronomy. He began his career in the field, leading agronomic research projects in St. Lucia, Sri Lanka and Tonga for six years before joining the International Relations Department of the French Ministry of Agriculture.

In 2011, Paul Luu was appointed director of Agropolis International, the international association representing the scientific community “Agronomy – Environment – Biodiversity – Water” of the Occitanie region. In particular, he contributed to the creation of the CGIAR Consortium in Montpellier, an international organization dedicated to agricultural research for the benefit of the poorest people on the planet. He joined the organization in September 2013 as Liaison Officer with the French authorities, then as Protocol Officer.

Since September 2016, Dr. Paul Luu has been Executive Secretary of the “4 per 1000” initiative launched at COP 21 in Paris.

Panel guests

Claire Chenu is research director at INRAE (French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment) and consulting professor of soil science at AgroParisTech.
She is a member of the research unit ECOSYS at Grignon. Her research deals with soil organic matter, which has a prominent role in ecosystem services provided by soils. She addresses the roles of soil organic matter in soil physical properties and investigates carbon dynamics and sequestration in agricultural soils. She was the 2019 Soil Science medallist of the European Geosciences Union and the recipient of the 2019 INRA Research Lifetime Achievement Award.
She is very involved in the science-policy-practice interface and in awareness raising activities on soils. She has been nominated Special Ambassador for 2015 the international year of soils by the FAO. She is member of several international committees, including being a member of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the 4 per 1000 initiative. She coordinates the EU H2020 European Joint Programme SOIL that associates 24 European countries: “Towards climate-smart sustainable management of agricultural soils”.

As a young Beninese woman, I’m an agronomist and I’ve been working for five years to help farmers adopt good production practices that respect the environment. Presently I am employed in the NGO African Innovation Services where I work in contact with several young people from agricultural high schools who are motivated to develop business ideas in rural areas. Also aware of the importance of post-harvest losses and their consequences for food security, I am currently preparing a Master’s degree in this area.

Florence Jeantet is the OP2B Managing Director since January 2020 and has been leading the coalition since then.

Florence has an unrelenting passion to turn science into innovation and it has been a driving force in her career. After 13years at Unilever, she has been dedicated to the mission of Danone for the last 15 years –leading the business to live “Health through food to as many people as possible.”

Whilst classically trained as an “Ingenieur(Ms)” in Food Science and Technology, she made her greatest impact through her leadership across many functions, roles and teams. Managing people internationally for more than 20 years, hierarchically and functionally, she evolves from Research & Development to Chief Growth officer of the Early lifeWorldwide Business.

Victoria Prentis has been the Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire since May 2015. In February 2020 she became Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. During her time in Defra she has taken the Agriculture Act 2020 and Fisheries Act 2020 through Parliament. Having grown up on a farm in Aynho, near Banbury, Victoria has a lifelong interest in farming. At home, she enjoys looking after her Zwartbles sheep and bee-keeping. She also hosts Apple Day every year in her village.


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