Securing our Common Future through Environmentally Sustainable Land Management
On Monday 30th March , the GB government advisors on the countryside and environment joined forces under the banner of the Land Use Policy Group (LUPG) to launch their Vision for the Future of the CAP post 2013.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) accounts for nearly half the budget of the European Union. The size of the CAP budget has been agreed up until 2013. Negotiations are already underway to determine its future role and the size of the budget after that date. The LUPG Vision provides a significant contribution to this debate.
Speaking at the well attended launch event at the Bibliothéque Solvay, adjacent to the European Parliament, John Taylor, the chair of LUPG said that:
“There are huge challenges facing Europe today. These include climate change and rising human pressures on the environment, as well as the need to ensure that our rural areas are economically viable.
“The security of our food production, in the long term, is inextricably linked with the quality of our soil, water resources and biodiversity. At the same time, we need to make sure that rural land is managed in ways that help to minimise the risk of floods and droughts, reduce carbon emissions and enhance biodiversity for the benefit of everyone. This is why we are proposing a reform of CAP that is focussed on the wide range of environmental services provided by those who manage rural land.”
The LUPG Vision explores the environmental challenges we face, the interlinked concepts of food and environmental security and the multifunctional nature of Europe’s rural land use, before setting out a set of principles that the agencies believe should underpin further reform of CAP:
Both agriculture and forestry provide a wide range of environmental services to society, which often go unrewarded by the market. These services are increasingly under threat as land managers seek to remain profitable. LUPG proposes a progressive transformation of the CAP in which the emphasis is shifted away from the current focus on income support and towards a system of paying more directly for the provision of environmental services, so helping to tackle climate change as well as dealing with the challenges of water management and biodiversity loss.
More emphasis should be placed on research and development, knowledge transfer, and the role of advisory services in helping farmers produce more whilst reducing environmental impacts. The CAP needs to recognise that safeguarding the environment is a precondition for future food security.
It will also be necessary to better integrate the different European funding streams available within rural areas; improve the monitoring and evaluation of the CAP as a whole; and avoid the export of environmental problems by developing global environmental principles that can underpin all food, fibre and energy production.
John Taylor added:
“We know that the future of farmers, and the future of the natural environment, are inextricably linked. The conservation of the natural environment in rural Europe depends on the continuation and expansion of good land management practices - which, in turn, depend on the financial viability of both agriculture and forestry.
“But we now have the opportunity to achieve so much more. Our vision sets out a practical way of supporting those farming and forestry systems which make the greatest contribution to the management of environmental services for the benefit of society, no matter where they are located or what size and type of holding is involved. We believe that our Vision provides a sustainable justification for a ‘new contract’ between taxpayers and those who manage rural land, addressing the implications of climate change issues whilst taking forward the sustainability agenda.”
Responses to the LUPG vision were provided by Tassos Haniotis of the European Commission, Allan Buckwell of the European Landowners Organisation (ELO) and Alfred Herberg of the German Nature Conservation Agency (Bundesamt fur Naturschutz)
For more information please visit the LUPG website.
02 Apr 2009
Land Use Policy Group
The Land Use Policy Group (LUPG) represents the GB statutory conservation, countryside and environmental agencies.