EURAF in Brussels to discuss CAP effects on Environment and Climate Change

by Gerry Lawson and Josep Crous-Duran

Last 13th of November, EURAF executive committee members Gerry Lawson (delegate for UK) and Josep Crous-Duran (sub-delegate for Portugal) attended in Brussels the Civil Dialogue Group (CDG) meeting related to Environment and Climate Change.

With these CDG meetings the European commission wants to establish a regular dialogue with non-governmental organizations, socioeconomic interest groups, civil society organizations, and trade unions concerning the development and implementation of the common  agricultural policy. In this occasion, EURAF representatives had the chance to hear from DG AGRI members recent updates on the new CAP proposals and measures and discuss its affectation to the environment and the climate change together with members of other 32 entities.

This meeting confirmed the message from other recent CDGs - that the Commission will no longer provide a menu of measures to be selected by Member States (MS) when implementing the CAP, and will focus on setting high-level objectives which MS will report against, using a suite of “Monitoring & Evaluation” (M&E) indicators. Unfortunately, the M&E indicators will be broad-brush “Output and Result” indicators, which largely record spending and numbers of recipients, rather than the more environmentally  focused “Impact Indicators”. The latter will used only for reporting at the end of the budget period for “State of the Environment” type Reports (EEA 2014).

The Commission's reluctance to use the IACS/LPIS system to monitor impacts means that there will be no link between national “agri-environment-climate measures” and their specific impacts. Nor can the activities of individual farmers or groups of farmers be rewarded through a “results oriented” system. Even the Impact Indicators proposed by the Commission will rely on regional summary statistics and on point sampling techniques such as LUCAS, with limited use of modern technology such as the new Sentinel satellites.

From the agroforestry perspective there are therefore three concerns with the current CAP proposals: a) there will no longer be a clear list of CAP Measures - one of which is “agroforestry establishment and maintenance”; b) measurement of the “landscape feature” layer in the LPIS of Member States will not be enhanced — thus losing an opportunity to quantify the resource of agroforestry and hedgerows, c) the emphasis will be on broad-brush reporting of money spent and farmers assisted rather than on the impact of specific policies.

EURAF is developing a list of suggested policy priorities for the new CAP, including an Agroforestry and Landscape Feature Eco Scheme (ALF-E), which will address these concerns.

Full reports on these meetings will be circulated via National Delegates to the EURAF EC.