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Getting involved with the "4 per 1000" Initiative

The Scientific and Technical Committee of the Initiative

The "4 per 1000” initiative has set up a strong Scientific and Technical Committee to guide projects with 14 renowned scientific experts. The Scientific and Technical Committee was set up on 17 November 2016 to create guidelines for the research program, provide technical advice to field projects and define a structure for evaluating projects and some monitoring indicators.

Take a look at the biographies of the CST members and their roles: Presentation of the CST members

Read also about indicators and evaluation criteria for "4 per 1000" projects, and current priorities of research.

Role of Research in the "4 per 1000" Initiative

The "4 per 1 000" initiative is a multi-actor initiative built around two main sectors of actions:

  1. A multi-actor, state and non-state action program for better soil carbon management to combat poverty and food insecurity, while contributing to adaptation to climate change and mitigation of emissions.
  2. And an international scientific research and cooperation program: "Carbon in soils": a food security challenge "covering four complementary scientific questions:

       • The study of mechanisms and estimation of carbon storage potential in soils by regions and agro-climatic systems

       • The assessment of the performance of virtuous agricultural practices and their consequences for sequestration and other production and regulatory services

       • The accompaniment for innovations and their stimulation through appropriate policies

       • The monitoring, reporting and verification of results (MRV - measuring, reporting and  verification), in particular for farmers.          

       Researchers, in particular at an international level, can develop the four matters described above in a coordinated way:

       • Knowledge of soil carbon stocks and storage potential

       • Impacts of agricultural and forestry practices on carbon storage in soils

       • Methods for monitoring the carbon sequestration in soils

       • Circulation of good practices.

Research stakeholders are also committed to:

  • Support an International Initiative on soils with a triple "win-win-win" goal
  • Propose some modes of production that emphasise the potential of plants as a mechanism for capturing and storing atmospheric carbon
  • Combat land degradation while having a positive impact on food security
  • Recognize that soils are vital for life on Earth and that living soils preserve biodiversity
  • Inspire and learn from traditional farming practices that give prominence to trees at the heart of agricultural production, as in agroforestry systems
  • Meet the scientific challenge of a better knowledge of carbon storage in soils, storage with multiple beneficial effects, in order to better control the factors favourable to this storage and the balance between the nutrients
  • Leverage scientific knowledge to develop some new production systems that are inspired by traditional practices to increase carbon storage in soils
  • Address the challenge of developing methods for measuring and assessing the quantity of carbon stored in soils at a lower cost
  • Mobilise stakeholders to encourage them to take actions in order to conserve soils for food security and climate
  • Choose to transmit and promote knowledge and practices in favour of agroecology

Testimonials from researchers

Scientific Director of Environment of INRA, Vice-President of the Scientific and Technical Committee, for the “4 per 1000“ initiative.

Professor of soil sciences at AgroParisTech (Biology, agronomy, food and environment sciences), researcher at INRA (Institut national français d'agronomie) for 20 years, Vice-President of the Scientific and Technical Committee, for the “4 per 1000“ initiative.

Researcher at Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) - Institut d'écologie et sciences environnementales de Paris, Vice-President of the Scientific and Technical Committee, for the “4 per 1000“ initiative.

Rattan LAL (USA)
Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science, Director, Carbon, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.

How to contribute?

Stakeholders of this initiative are committed to ensure that a maximum number of agricultural soils, through their actions, benefit from farming practices to maintain or enhance their carbon content or to preserve carbon-rich soils.

Every actor giving such undertakings by signing the joint declaration of intention must state the goal it has set for itself, the types of action to be taken, the relevant timetable and the dedicated resources.

The "4 per 1000" initiative: soils for food security and climate fully meets the goals of the Paris Agreement (December 2015):

  • By participating in adaptation issues and contributing to preserve food security through, especially, improved soil fertility, agricultural yields and the nutritional quality of agricultural products
  • By contributing to the goal of limiting global warming to below 2°C, and if possible 1.5°C, and to the long-term goal of neutrality of anthropogenic (all gas) emissions in the second half of the century
  • By developing some practices, techniques and policies, backed by the latest scientific knowledge, to help countries to achieve the goals they have set for themselves under their determined contributions at their national level
  • By providing especially the donors with scientific guarantees on the impact of projects submitted for funding, but also for civil society on environmental, social and economic impacts.

The "4 per 1000" initiative is coherent with many sustainable development goals (September 2015):

  • SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) 1 & 2 (nutritious and quality food accessible to all),
  • SDG 3 (reduction in use of potentially hazardous inputs for health),
  • but also SDG 7, SDG 8, SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 14 & 15.

The "4 per 1000" initiative meets all the criteria of the “Global Climate Action Agenda”:

  • transformational
  • delivering practical deliverables
  • replicable
  • innovative
  • assisting in the implementation of the NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions)
  • inclusive

In concrete terms, how do we get involved?

Follow the link below:

They already got involved

The consortium members and forum partners of the initiative


Read about indicators and evaluation criteria for "4 per 1000" projects, and current priorities of research.

See examples of commitments and achievements

IDEAA Regeneration Systems has released a report “Regeneration of soils and ecosystems: the opportunity to prevent climate change - Basis for a necessary climate and agricultural policy” (2020)

AGRISOURCE: the Open-Innovation Platform for Agriculture
Agrisource is a project carried out by the French INRA and CIRAD, and funded by the European Climate-KIC :

CGIAR - CCAFS (research programme of the CGIAR on Climate change, Agriculture and Food Security) has produced a book and videos to explain how to measure soil carbon, greenhouse gas emissions and analyze mitigation options in smallholder farming.

CIRCASA project aims to strengthen the coordination and synergies in European and global research on SOC sequestration in agricultural soils, leading to an improved understanding and scientific basis to target ambitious practices required to preserve and enhance SOC.

Beyond climate, Soil Carbon sequestration to sustain tropical family farming:

A student team from the University of Life Science in Vienna (Austria) worked on the “4 per 1000” Initiative and its potentials in Austria, particularly in agricultural soils. Read project finding here

They speak about it

"Parce que l’alimentation des troupeaux est constituée de 60 à 80% d’herbe des prairies, qui sont des puits de carbone de même que les haies qui les entourent,  l’élevage français de ruminants, producteur de viande rouge, dépasse déjà l’objectif de 4pour1000 de stockage de carbone annuel dans les sols. Par sa démarche BEEF CARBON, l’évaluation des élevages et l’évolution des pratiques, notre filière s’engage à améliorer encore sa performance environnementale" - Dominique Langlois, Président d’INTERBEV

"4 per 1000":  Getting more from the land, for people and the planet" - Craig Hanson, Global Director (Food, Forests & Water) World Resources Institute -

"La restauration des sols par des pratiques agro-écologiques est indispensable à la transition vers des systèmes alimentaires durables et la lutte contre le changement climatique" - Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso.

"Sans élevage, l’agriculture serait déséquilibrée ! L’élevage laitier a une contribution positive sur les sols grâce à la valorisation des déjections animales. C’est le sens de notre adhésion à l’initiative 4/1000".
"La Ferme Laitière Bas Carbone est un programme de réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre en élevage laitier. Il est basé sur un diagnostic qui permet à chaque éleveur de calculer son impact et de mettre en œuvre les leviers d’amélioration.  Haies, prairies et effluents sont nos priorités" - Caroline Le Poultier, directrice générale du CNIEL

"Les femmes et les hommes qui travaillent le sol sont les mieux placés pour utiliser et capturer le carbone sur Terre" - réseau TRAME

"Engagé dans le 4 pour 1000 pour promouvoir bonnes pratiques et solutions méditerranéennes pour des sols sains et valorisés" - CIHEAM

"We can reverse climate change by stripping CO2 out of the atmosphere and putting it into the soil where it is needed to improve soil health and crop production" - André Leu, President, IFOAM - Organics International

"A comme Agriculteurs engagés et responsables ; C comme Carbone stocké ; F comme Fertilité des sols restaurée" - Agriculteurs Composteurs de France