The conference has a long history of gathering key representatives from agricultural and environmental authorities, academic institutions, farmers' unions and advisory organisations, farmers, agri-environmentals NGOs and enterprises providing an important opportunity for the sharing of ideas, solutions and collaborative approaches to reducing the impacts of agriculture to the Baltic Sea.
In November 2015, WWF in cooperation with UBA - the German Federal Environment Agency with financial support from Swedish Water and Marine Agency (SWaM) and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) hosted the annual conference in Stralsund, Germany.
The conference titled ‘Agriculture – production and consumption contributing to the Eutrophication of the Baltic Sea’ featured the role and shared responsibility of additional actors to the agriculture sector throughout the production and consumption chain from farm to plate in how to help reduce the effects of eutrophication in the region as well as enhance biodiversity. Some 100 participants from 12 countries with various backgrounds – from science to farming, from ministerial level and European policy to environmental NGOs, from advisors to business – attended and made vital contributions to a successful conference in Stralsund in maintaining the annual GABBS conference once again.
Greener Agriculture for a Bluer Baltic Sea
Agriculture – production and consumption contributing to the Eutrophication of the Baltic Sea
5-6 November 2015
Ozeaneum, Stralsund, Germany
Conference report is available for download here.
What needs to be put in place to deliver Baltic friendly prodcution and consumption?
At the conference, three parallel sessions looked at the solutions that need to put in place to deliver Baltic friendly farming within the focus of consumption trends, production with reduced impact and nutrient losses and policy driven tools.
Session 1: Eating for the Baltic
One of today’s biggest challenges is the increasing consumption of meat. At the same time, the way meat is produced has also effects on the environment with implications on biodiversity, global warming and more importantly in the context of the conference – eutrophication. The workshop addressed the issue of how to raise the awareness of consumers in understanding the linkages between meat consumption and the consequence it has on the Baltic Sea concerning eutrophication. Furthermore, it focused on what different actors in the chain from field to plate, as individual consumer and business, can do to improve the status of the Baltic Sea by eating for the Baltic.
Session 2: Production with reduced impact and nutrient losses
Numerous measures have been undertaken in the Baltic Sea region to improve farming standards and ensuring Baltic friendly farming but all types of farming causes environmental impact. Nutrient runoff, changes in biodiversity and ecosystems and soil structure are some commonly known examples. Whatever the type of agricultural production system, there is a need to produce food for an increasing population with less impact on nature and ecosystems. Sustainable agricultural production needs to reduce the use of fossil fuels as well as N and P and other necessary resources while at the same time deliver products to the market and consumers meeting their needs and wishes. With this perspective there will most likely be a need for different production systems including both conventional and organic agriculture.
Session 3: Policy driven tools
There are a broad number of different policies implemented in the Baltic Sea region to foster an agriculture with less nutrient runoff. Some are already in place since some years and others were just recently introduced. The focus of the 'Policy driven tools' workshop was to discuss the effectiveness of these policies in order to improve the runoff reduction and to identify gaps in current policy schemes on how farmers in cooperation with the retailers and the consumers can contribute to the goal of a Bluer Baltic Sea.