This chapter includes the minutes of the JRC workshop in Zagreb and some basic conclusions. The chapter is
organized as follows. In the first part the background information of this meeting and the main points are presented.
The first day of the meeting was dedicated to the overview of soil information in each of the Southern-
Eastern European countries. In the related section, brief description of all presentations is listed. The second
day has been divided into two sessions: the first session was dedicated to the European Soil Data Center and
the second session was related to Digital Soil mapping. This report follows the same structure: first a review
of activities is given for the countries in the region, followed by a review of the methodological development
that can support soil protection policies.
One of the key objectives of the JRC is to support the uptake of scientific and technical aspects of European Union’s
(EU) legislation (the acquis communautaire) in New Member States, Acceding, Candidate and Potential Candidate
Countries and to promote Community strategies in countries within the area of the EU Neighbourhood Policy. An area of rapidly developing initiatives is the EU’s Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, officially adopted by the Commission on September 22nd 2006 [http://ec.europa.eu/environment/soil/]. The strategy makes a clear statement of the need for policy relevant soil information and indicators across Europe for the identification of areas at risk from a variety threats to soil function. In this context, the Land Management and Natural Hazards Unit of the JRC’s Institute for Environment and Sustainability recently held a workshop with the specific objectives to strengthen collaboration on soil protection between the JRC and the countries of south-eastern Europe and to improve contacts between researchers and policymakers in the region.
The workshop, supported by the University of Zagreb and the Croatian Soil Science Society, brought together key players in the development of soil policy, soil survey, soil monitoring and soil information systems from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Slovenia and Serbia and several neighbouring states (Greece, Hungary and Austria). From a historical perspective, the workshop proved to be the mechanism to bring together, for the first time since the break-up of Yugoslavia and the conflicts of the 1990s, both soil researchers and policy makers from all over south-eastern Europe. The workshop provided a stimulus to initiate regional integration and promoted a fruitful dialogue between countries. For the countries of the Ex-Yugoslavia, this was the first time that the soil researchers officially met in more than 15 years.
The workshop, organized under the auspices of the JRC’s 2006 Enlargement and Integration Action1, was an opportunity to assess the current state of soil protection measures and policy relevant soil information in each country and facilitate discussions on best practices in soil protection. In addition, a number of JRC initiatives such as the Danube Basin Soil Information System and a review of Digital Soil Mapping techniques were presented to the participants as examples of activities for future collaboration between the JRC and participating countries. The meeting outlined a strategy for enhanced collaboration in support of proposed legislation to protect the quality of soil in Europe through participation in the activities of the European Soil Bureau Network and by the production of this report.