Scoping the Development of the Environmentally Sustainable Production Agenda – paper published

This IEEP paper ‘Scoping the Development of the Environmentally Sustainable Production Agenda’ for the Land Use Policy Group (LUPG) sets out the key issues and questions that need to be considered for the establishment of a Sustainable Production Agenda for Europe and explores the implications of these issues for the development of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period 2013 – 2020.

The need for European agriculture and forestry to play a positive role in managing and enhancing the natural environment and to deliver sufficient food, fibre and raw materials for human consumption, is increasingly recognised. This paper explores a number of issues central to this debate in the period up to 2020. These include food and energy security, the impact of agriculture on Europe’s environment, the role of new technologies in enhancing sustainable production and future land use requirements in Europe. In considering these issues, it is evident that no single farming approach can address successfully the dual requirements of production and environmental management and that a mixture of both intensive and extensive production systems will be required. To achieve this, a range of policy interventions will be needed, not least to ensure that farming systems that maintain valued landscapes, ecosystem services and biodiversity remain economically viable and deliver a reasonable quality of life for farmers.

The CAP has an important role here, both in supporting farms that already invest in sustainable production and in providing incentives for better resource management. The latter is important to maintain Europe’s capacity for production and to safeguard its environment. However, a wider role for the CAP is also necessary both in ensuring that new research and technology contribute to the delivery of sustainable production and that such production is compatible with the goals of other sectoral and rural policies and with local and global concerns for the environment.

The publication of the LUPG’s vision for the future of the CAP signalled the start of a process rather than an end point. During the launch event in March 2009, a substantial number of questions were raised by the various speakers and members of the audience. In response, LUPG commissioned a series of IEEP discussion papers to address these questions. It is hoped that these papers will prove useful in informing the continuing debate on the future of the CAP after 2013. This is the third in a series of four discussion papers. This is the second in a series of four discussion papers.

Full version of the paper

First paper in the series 'Achieving a transition away from CAP direct payments'

Third paper in the series 'Developing a More Comprehensive Rationale for EU Funding for the Environment'