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Soil Management and Land Policies. Presentation of the Workshop

Workshop WT54. China Europa Forum. Paris, 5-6 Octuber 2007

The aims of the workshop:

Workshop WT54 about soil management and land policies covers three large and distinct themes:

  • The management of land as agricultural spaces and surfaces. An ensemble of problems related to rural and agricultural land governance is a related topic.

  • The management of urban spaces, and particularly problems related to the relationship between rural land management and urban land management

  • Soil management

These three themes are linked to a proposition, which is specified by the documents presented by this workshop’s convenors: “Problems and Perspectives concerning the Current Land Situation in China” by Ye Jianping, Zhan Zhefang, and Wu Zhenghong of the Department of Land Management at the People’s University of Beijing, and “Soil Management and Land Policies” by Michel Merlet and Joseph Comby. The scope of this debate ought to be widened according to the participant’s areas of interest.

Each participant was invited on his own behalf, and expressed his own views. Certainly, there were many communication difficulties, but the goal of the workshop remained to better understand the biggest challenges that Chinese and European societies are confronting.

One of the greatest problems with globalization is the risk that the world’s cultural diversity will disappear. Enabling processes of dialogue and exchange are crucial for being able to find solutions together to the problems that are presented today to all human societies.

For this reason, this workshop constitutes a unique opportunity to brainstorm common solutions. In spite of any communications problems that might have occurred, Europeans have so much to learn from the Chinese point of view. Inversely, understanding European experiences could allow the Chinese to see their own reality in another way, and find solutions to current Chinese issues.

Presentation of Workshop WT54’s organization:

The workshop’s two days have been divided into four sessions.

  • The first day (sessions 1 and 2) was dedicated to the presentation of Chinese (session 1) and European (session 2) issues.

A question and answer period after the presentations allowed the European participants to better understand the Chinese reality and vice-versa. Given the time constraint, only the requests for clarification were addressed. The larger questions were reserved for the following sessions or further exchanges.

  • On the second day (sessions 3 and 4), the essential questions were asked. Throughout session 3, the participants focused on the following question: « What can we lean from the similarities and differences between Europe and China? » Session 4 was designed to begin answering the question, « How might we strengthen the exchanges between China and Europe that deal with the workshop’s themes? »

Most of the working documents of the workshop are available in this folder.

List of participants:

  • Convenors :

    • Mr. Ye Jianping (Chine). Professor and Director of the Land Management Department at the Peoples’ University. He is a specialist of the Chinese land tenure system, for both the urban and rural sectors, and is the director of the Center for Real Estate Management.

    • Mr. Michel Merlet (France). Agricultural engineer, specialist of rural land use issues, and secretary of the board of AGTER association (Association for the improved governance of Land, Water, and Natural Resources).

    • Mr. Joseph Comby (France). Specialist of urban land use questions, editor in chief of the review, Etudes Foncières and founding member of Association Des Etudes Foncières (ADEF).

  • Participants :

    • Mr. Min Qingwen (China). Mr. Min Qingwen works for the Land Use Studies Department at China’s Institute of Sciences. He is also the director of a project for the FAO 1. He is a specialist of ecological and traditional agriculture, and his research focuses on whether traditional systems are adaptable to land policies.

    • Mr. Luo Peng (Chine). Mr. Luo Peng works for the Biology Institute at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu, in Sichuan province. He is a specialist of ecology, and he has directed a series of studies on Man’s impacts on different ecosystems. He is interested in the influence of land policies on the interrelationship between man and natural ecosystems.

    • Mr. Robert Levesque (France). Mr. Robert Levesque is an agricultural engineer, and a specialist of the rural real estate market. He works for the National Federation of SAFER, in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture as well as the regional and local authorities.

    • Mr. Marc Sauvez (France). Mr. Marc Sauvez is an urban planner specialized in interventions in difficult neighborhoods. He recently carried out a study of about the border between the city and the countryside, and has worked on the rehabilitation of urban districts of Beijing.

    • Mr. Sjoerd Wartena (Pays Bas). Mr. Sjoerd Wartena is a Dutch farmer who lives in France. He advocates organic family farming and is also the president of the association Terre de Liens.

    • Mr. Alain Ruellan (France). Mr. Alain Ruellan is an agricultural engineer, pedologist, Ph.D., and has worked in France, Africa, Brazil, and in many countries of the global South. He is a specialist of the relationship between sustainable development and soil management. He is also professor emeritus of advanced agronomy.

    • Mr. Eladio Arnalte (Espagne). Mr. Eladio Arnalte is a professor at the Agronomy School of Valencia in Spain, and also teaches about the processes of transforming farm sizes.

    • Miss Ioana Tudora (Roumanie). Miss Ioana Tudora is an architect, urban planner, and specialist of landscape studies. She teaches at the University of Bucharest as well as at the Brussels Free University.

    • Mr. Martin Large (Royaume Uni). Mr. Martin Large is part of a cooperative farm, for which he is the economic, technical, and financial advisor. He is working to facilitate farming access.

    • Mr.Julien Allaire (France). Mr. Julien Allaire has just terminated his thesis at the University of Grenoble. He specializes in urbanization processes, particularly in China.

    • Mr. Paul Bonhommeau (France). Mr. Paul Bonhommeau is an agricultural engineer and a lawyer. He advises farmers’ organizations, such as in particular the Confederation Paysanne. He is the author of a study about the recent farming orientation laws in France.

    • Mr. Adrian Civici (Albanie). Mr. Adrian Civici is an economist who specializes in agricultural policies and how they relate to the transformation of economic systems. He is also the president of an Albanian NGO that works on the processes of transformation from a planned economy to a market economy in the Balkans.

    • Mr. Hubert Cochet (France). Mr. Hubert Cochet is an agricultural engineer and a professor of comparative agriculture and agricultural development at Agro-Paritech. He has carried out numerous studies comparing agricultural systems in the world, and today is the president of the AGTER association.

    • Mr. Francis Haumont (Belgique). Mr. Francis Haumont is a professor at the University of Louvin. Attorney at the Bar of Brussels and of Nice, he specializes in urban regulation and environmental law.

    • Mr. Gergely Toth (Hongrie). Mr. Gregory Toth is a researcher specializing in soil management. He has studied the Chinese system and is currently working on the development of a European soil database, in collaboration with the Commission on the European soil management strategy.

  • Moderation, Note taking and organization :

    • Ms. Sylvie Dideron (France). Agricultural engineer and independent consultant specialized in rural development, and specifically works on the relationship between territory use and management and the fight against poverty. Her role during this workshop has been to facilitate the communication between the participants and to make sure that the discussions go smoothly.

    • Clara Jamart (France). Desk officer (AGTER)

    • Mercedes Savané (Ecuador). Public relations officer (AGTER)

      Miss Clara Jamart and Mrs. Mercedes Savané, both members of AGTER’s permanent team, have taken the responsibility of taking notes, writing the report of proceedings to be sent to the Forum, and the essential organization of the workshop.

1 The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) project titled, “Conservation and adaptive management of rice-fish culture in China”

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