BirdLife International's detailed CAP proposal in coalition with EEB, IFOAM, EFNCP and WWF.
BirdLife International has elaborated in coalition with EEB, IFOAM, EFNCP and WWF a detailed proposal for the future of the CAP, one that could transform it into an effective and efficient policy supporting sustainable farming and rewarding farmers for the delivery of public goods.
The document proposes to move away from a policy based on a logic of dependency and compensation to one where the delivery of public goods which are not rewarded currently by the market is supported. The proposal takes the form of a contract between farmers and society and embraces the following objectives:
- To create the environmental conditions to sustain long-term agricultural production through the protection of ecosystems and their services (soil, air and water) and the sustainable use of natural resources;
- To accelerate the transition toward resource-efficient farming that is less dependent on fossil inputs and more resilient in the face of climate change and other external pressures;
- To promote conditions for the production of safe, healthy and high quality food;
- To maintain and enhance (wild) farmland biodiversity by halting and reversing declines;
- To maintain (domesticated) agricultural biodiversity ;
- To contribute to achieving ‘good status’ in European freshwater systems and adjacent coastal waters;
- To contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation;
- To support the maintenance of landscapes and a rural heritage rich in aesthetic, cultural or historical value;
- To contribute to the rural vitality of areas highly dependent on agriculture and where this is important to support the viability of those farming systems which underpin the delivery of public goods;
- To promote enhanced animal welfare;
- To support sustainable food systems which better connect producers and consumers.
The system envisaged comprises five support schemes underpinned by a strong common framework of environmental standards. As a pre-requisite for receiving further payments all farm activities must respect environmental legislation. Some are already included under Cross Compliance, but other requirements should be included as the ones emerging for example from the Water Framework Directive or the Sustainable Pesticide Use Directive.
The voluntary commitments- at a second level- take the form of five support schemes. Each scheme has specific objectives and rules, are modular and might be combined, but enrolment to the first scheme: the “Basic Farm Sustainability scheme” (B.F.S.S) would be a precondition for the others. The other schemes in which farmers can enroll are:
• HNV System Support Scheme: Aims to support farming systems that deliver high levels of public goods but are threaten by marginalisation, abandonment or conversion.
• Organic System Support Scheme: Aims to increase the coverage of organic farming supporting conversion and maintenance of organic farming.
• Targeted Agri-Environment Scheme: Used to address specific problems such as soil erosion, habitat and species loss, water pollution etc.
• Natura 2000 and Water Framework Directive Compensation Scheme: Would provide compensation to farmers or land managers subject to restrictions or prescriptions arising from these two legislations.
In addition, measures for sustainable farming and land management (S.L.M.) such as advisory services; management planning and cooperation among farmers (M.P&C) and support for rural communities threatened by abandonment (S.S.C) are also proposed. Investment grants to help overcome situations where a lack of capital is the obstacle for the delivery of public goods or for the adoption of sustainable practices are also considered.
Member States would be responsible for allocating their funds across these five schemes through national and regional programmes, after the Commission's approval. This would ensure coherence, effectiveness and fair treatment between all farmers and land managers.
Alongside a consultation process is being carried out among policy makers, farmers, environmentalists and a wide variety of other stakeholders which are invited to comment and potentially endorse the document. It is an open invitation to input their knowledge and expertise to influence on our campaign and have a word on the future of the CAP. Comments are welcome through the website http://www.cap2020.ieep.eu/vision/ until the 31st of January 2010 where they will also be made publicly available.