FACE Event: “Can the next CAP make space for nature?’’

Ahead of the crucial upcoming vote on the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the European Parliament, the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) organised the online conference “Can the next CAP make space for nature?’’ with MEP Herbert Dorfmann (EPP) and MEP Martin Hlaváček (Renew Europe) to discuss what measures can effectively reverse biodiversity loss on Europe’s farmland.

During the event, a presentation on “CAP post 2020: potentials and barriers” was delivered by Prof. Sebastian Lakner, Professor of Agriculture Economics, University of Rostock, and Dr. Dieter Kömle, Senior Research Associate, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries.

Luc Bas, Director of IUCN Europe, moderated the event and Dr. David Scallan, FACE Secretary General, participated in the panel discussion.

There was a wide-ranging discussion on what measures can effectively reverse biodiversity loss including a fixed percentage of land devoted to “space for nature”. It’s clear there are different views on what role conditionality (i.e. set conditions for farmers) and voluntary eco-schemes should play. However, all speakers agreed that biodiversity must be better prioritised in the next CAP.

Both MEP Dorfmann and MEP Hlaváček stressed that farmers must play a key role in ensuring that any environmental measures deliver effective results. Prof. Sebastian Lakner highlighted the urgent need to raise environmental ambition in the next CAP. He pointed at the low effectiveness and efficiency of the Greening-approach 2014-2020 and the necessity to improve agri-environmental measures, especially in the first pillar. Dr. Dieter Koemle showed the interlinkages between landscape features, agri-environmental payments and hunting harvest data in Austria. Furthermore, Prof. Lakner expressed concern about signs of weakened conditionality and overall low environmental ambition at the Council level, through exemptions and flexibility.

Dr. David Scallan underlined that hunters have long witnessed the dramatic decline of huntable and non-huntable species mainly due to the intensification of farming in Europe. He stressed that Europe’s 7 million hunters are actively calling for a much better CAP for biodiversity that includes strong conditionality.

Bringing in the international perspective, Luc Bas affirmed that the Green Deal and EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 would not be credible if the next CAP does not deliver on biodiversity.

The ball is now in the hands of Members of European Parliament, which will soon have a unique opportunity to shape the next CAP. It remains to be seen how ambitious the Council of the European Union is willing to be, once it has entered the trialogue negotiations with the Parliament.

To see the video of the conference, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASCtrOX89K0 

To see FACE’s specific requests for the next CAP see: www.face.eu/agriculture

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