European Landowners and WWF agree that future CAP must incentivise sustainable farming practices
ELO and WWF agree on the need to revise existing policy instruments under a robust EU framework, so they can truly deliver on policy objectives and targets. With commensurate budget resources, a well-oriented, efficient and modern policy can help farming make the necessary transition to sustainability and market realities ahead, and ensure its high EU added value.
Thierry de l’Escaille, Secretary General of the ELO, said: “It is clear that society demands that farming delivers food, has higher environmental standards, and does its share to combat climate change. If the resources are there and people trust us to do the job, Europe’s land managers are ready to deliver”.
Andrea Kohl, acting Director of the WWF European Policy Office, said: “Current trends in biodiversity loss, climate change and water ecosystems deterioration show that business-as-usual is not an option for food and farming in Europe. The future CAP must incentivise sustainable rural land management, setting binding targets and better accountability systems to avoid the misuse of flexibility that we have seen in the past."
At a time where important decisions are being made for the future of food and farming in Europe, the joint statement by ELO and WWF offers four considerations which are summarised below:
- Market failures and imperfections leave farmers in a weak position in the food chain and do not sufficiently reward the provision of environmental and social goods. This justifies significant collective action to achieve publicly desired outcomes. However, the CAP budget must be used far more effectively in the future, improving the provision of environmental and social public goods in a way which also makes sense at farm business level.
- The CAP should guide a significant transition to sustainability in our food and farming systems. It must support smart, agro-ecological, and innovative land management, particularly in the face of climate change. The New Delivery Model proposed by the European Commission, which aims at a new division of responsibilities between the Commission and Member States, must enhance climate and environmental action coherently across Europe while ensuring a good standard of living for Europe’s land managers.
- For the CAP to remain a common policy, joint objectives, targets and measurable indicators should be agreed at EU level to create a robust framework for Member State action. These goals should be founded in existing legislation, policies and agreements, which stipulate targets in areas such as biodiversity, water, climate, air and soils, including the Paris climate agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
- The New Delivery Model should be based on trust and accountability between the EU, Member States, public authorities and land managers. It involves a change in mind-sets which calls for the reform of the CAP not to be rushed. Member States should be given the time and, where needed, the help to make sure that the transition to higher standards is well managed. This transition towards a new culture and a less prescriptive framework would benefit both farmers and administration, and it can be helped by making full use of big data and technological solutions.