CAP 2021-27: Using the eco-scheme to maximise environmental and climate benefits

The integration of environmental considerations into the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been a gradual and lengthy process over the last decades. The European Commission’s proposals for the 2021-2027 reform, published in June 2018, mark the latest efforts by the EU to further integrate these considerations into the CAP. Under the proposals the introduction of an eco-scheme, mandatory for Member States to implement under Pillar 1, but voluntary for farmers, is potentially a significant innovation in the CAP’s current green architecture.

If well targeted and tailored to Member States environmental and climate needs, the eco-scheme, could be an important instrument to support farmers and/or land managers who wish to transition towards more sustainable farming practices and systems. Key issues explored in the report include:

  • the extent to which the new eco-scheme can be targeted and tailored towards specific environmental and climate needs;
  • the link between the eco-scheme and the Farm Advisory Services (FAS);
  • the relationship between the eco-scheme and other relevant environmental and climate-related interventions within the CAP;
  • the funding dimension of the eco-scheme as well as related interventions;
  • how the eco-scheme and other related interventions fit into the ‘new delivery model’ in terms of the development of the CAP strategic plans (CSPs), the approval process for these plans as well as their monitoring and evaluation; and
  • how the eco-scheme could be designed to ensure greater environmental and climate ambition is realised throughout the whole of the CAP.

The report also identifies a number of observations that could help to guarantee that the eco-scheme’s potential to contribute to maximising environmental and climate benefits is reached by ensuring that:

  • the eco-scheme is well targeted and tailored, and backed by a strong budget in order to deliver a higher level of ambition for environmental and climate action
  • there is complementarity between the eco-scheme and other related CAP instruments including key elements of the green architecture and,
  • that planning and performance under the next CAP is participatory, transparent and evidence-based to effectively address key environmental and climate challenges

For more information, please contact Stephen Meredith.

 

(Photo: Triin Viilvere)

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