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Call for tender

Consultant for a study on the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP)

Application deadline
31 December 2023, 12:00 CET


24 790 € (excluding VAT)

Send application to
[email protected] and [email protected]

1             INTRODUCTION

BirdLife International is a global Partnership of autonomous, national non-governmental conservation organisations, with a large grassroots membership, in 120 countries and territories. BirdLife works together as a Partnership to conserve wild birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, by working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. BirdLife is the global authority on the status of bird species, has unparalleled technical expertise in bird and biodiversity assessment, and provides a global outreach through its national Partners and decentralised Secretariat. 

Stichting BirdLife Europe (BirdLife Europe) is the regional division of BirdLife International, and is one of the six BirdLife regional offices around the world. It is composed of an international team of permanent staff working on conservation, capacity building, policy, management, finance, fundraising, advocacy, science, communication, marketing and administration. BirdLife Europe supports the European and Central Asia Partnership of BirdLife International, which consists of 45 independent, grassroots Civil Society Organisations, governed by a democratic programme.

Agriculture in Europe and globally is at a crossroads. While the ecological pressure stemming from worsening climatic conditions and the continuous and increasing collapse of ecosystems and their services is mounting, farming is one of the mayor drivers of these changes. Yet until now agriculture policy in Europe has not addressed this sufficiently. The reform of the CAP has again failed to be the driver of transformation.

EU agriculture is a global player. Its footprint extends all around the planet, both in terms of upstream resources and downstream markets. There is a growing political conflict between a vision focused just on productivity and innovation and the EU Farm-to-Fork Strategy aiming at system change, accepting limits to productivity in exchange for higher ecological output, while addressing consumption patterns.

In this context, BirdLife has proposed a [new vision] for the next Agriculture policy and is now commissioning a study to test this vision. 



60% of the new CAP still consist of untargeted direct payments (/ha or coupled) that have proven ineffective socially, given the rapid loss of farmers and environmentally as it fails to address the interlinked crises of climate, biodiversity, soils and natural resources degradation. CAP 2023-2027 has been unable to direct subsidies towards the biodiversity and climate crisis and still encourages land concentration, specialization, and never ending expansion of farms, with support mechanisms fundamentally unbalanced between farms, regardless of what their need for support might be.

As a result, CAP payments are never enough for the sector, farm unions are compelled to always asking for more budget and undermining environmental actions as much as possible by (i) limiting to the minimum budget dedicated to environmental objectives (ii) watering down as much as possible the ambition and level of effort required by the farmers in these measures.

Budget and means of implementation is one, if not the main challenge to achieving 2030 Green Deal and Biodiversity objectives. Therefore the use of the CAP budget, which is ⅓ of the  EU budget, and also the most damaging for biodiversity, is one of the core elements of our thinking and advocacy.

Our working hypothesis is that different and more effective agriculture policy instruments, integrated in a more coherent policy framework for food systems (including fiscal and trade measures) and rural-regional development can help deliver on social and economic objectives and free up budget for more effective environmental action.


The aim of the study is to develop more concrete elements of the above mentioned vision and test its implications-delivery on the ground in selected (between 10 and 15) individual model farms, representing different agriculture systems and bioregions. This should include   synthesis of academic literature examining payment of ecosystem services/public goods as well as alternative policy instruments that could support the farm sector more efficiently, while delivering for the environment and simulations of  implications of the proposed policies for model farms .

 Alternative policy options implemented instead of direct payments will be thought of with the following overall vision for CAP and agriculture: public money should be used to remunerate land managers for ecosystem services they provide, in a way that farmer, consumer and citizens’ needs are met. CAP should be transformed into a modern policy actually addressing current problems in a targeted and accountable way.  The new policy should be incentivising sustainable land-use leading to carbon neutrality, increasing biodiversity and protecting natural resources based on mainstreaming agroecological practices, and hence helping farmers to be more autonomous and resilient in the face of multiple ongoing crises.

To replace direct payments and/or the CAP as a whole, the proposed instruments will help to meet, as much as possible, the phase out of all forms of subsidies harmful to the climate and biodiversity.


  1. Exploring Existing Practices in Rewarding Land Managers for Ecosystem Services:

What are the experiences and mechanisms of agricultural policies that incentivize and compensate land managers for providing ecosystem services? How effective have these policies been in addressing climate, biodiversity, and environmental objectives, and what lessons can be drawn from their successes and shortcomings?

  • Designing an Optimal Payment for Ecosystem Services Policy:

What would be the ideal design of a funding policy based on payment for ecosystem services to maximize positive environmental and social outcomes? This includes considerations such as regional governance, differentiation in premium rates, the balance between rewarding outcomes and processes, and potential transformative elements within the policy framework.

  • Structural Policies and Provisions to Support Farming Systems Facing Barriers:

Which structural policies or specific provisions, such as the Just Transition Fund or State Aid, could be implemented to assist farming systems that are constrained by technical or financial challenges, preventing them from transitioning to more sustainable practices?

  • Assessing the Impact of a Payment for Ecosystem Services Model:

What implications would the adoption of a payment for ecosystem services (PES) model have on individual farmer incomes and the redistribution of resources among various farm models, considering factors like farm size and system type? Can this alternative system effectively promote nature-friendly farming practices such as high nature value farming (HNV), agroecology, organic farming, and sylvopastoralism? This inquiry will be supported by budget simulations using select farm examples.

  • Identifying Strategic Investments for Systemic Change:

What types of investments, such as advisory services, monitoring technologies, and digital tools, have the greatest potential to catalyze fundamental shifts in the food and farming sector, facilitating its transition towards sustainability?

(Optional) Aligning the Demand and Food Supply Chain with Sustainable Production:

In the event that this aspect is considered, how should the demand and food supply chain adapt to ensure alignment with the transformation of the production system, while avoiding the displacement of demand to other global regions?

(Optional) Analyzing the Societal Costs and Benefits of Alternative Approaches:

In the case of the inclusion of this question, what are the overall societal costs and benefits associated with implementing alternative agricultural policies and practices? This entails a comprehensive evaluation encompassing economic, environmental, and social impacts, providing insights to guide policy decisions.


Including a review of existing literature and research projects on this subject.

Budget simulations with more or less 10 variables such as agri inputs/outputs, payments for ecosystem services (biodiversity, carbon, water management and retention, nutrients management, landscape specificity) at UE and focus on partners level (Poland, France, Spain or Italy).

The consultant should be available for a period of 3 moths after signing the contract.


The think piece should be usable as internal paper to guide the discussions around the CAP vision and it might be shared with allies and supporting organisations, including the BirdLife partnership in the different EU Member States.

The document should also include an extensive overview of the existing scientific knowledge around the payment for ecosystem services. It should have a maximum size of 30-40 pages plus a four page executive summary


  • Have a relevant academic degree (Master or PhD in Agriculture Economics);
  • Have relevant experience with the EU Agriculture and Biodiversity policy, and of conservation issues;
  • Excellent track record of producing synthesis or technical report;
  • Have an understanding of the EU Common Agricultural Policy;
  • Write and speak English fluently.

5             BirdLife OFFERS

BirdLife can provide 24 790 € (excluding VAT) for the above-mentioned consultancy, including money for travel expenses.

Any offers received that do not respect the upper limit will be automatically excluded from the evaluation procedure.

The price for the tender must be quoted in euro. Tenderers from countries outside the euro zone have to quote their prices in euro. The price quoted may not be revised in line with exchange rate movements. Quotes should specify daily rate and amount of work offered. It is for the tenderer to assume the risks or the benefits deriving from any variation.


Prospective consultants are invited to submit proposals (CV, cover letter specifying the methodology used for the think piece and a bibliography of past publications) before 31 December 2023, 12:00 CET. The proposals should be sent to [email protected] and [email protected] (by email only)specifying the following:

  • Date when consultant would be able to start.