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Environmental and climate assessments of CAP Strategic Plans

AUTHORS: Estelle Midler (IEEP), Juliette Pagnon (IEEP), Elisabet Nadeu (IEEP), Aaron Scheid (Ecologic Institute)

This briefing summarises the results of a series of assessments of the climate and environmental ambition of the CAP’s Strategic Plans, based on the detailed study of four Member States (France, Spain, Poland and Germany).

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the main funding source for agriculture in the EU and thus for implementing the Farm to Fork Strategy targets. The 2023-27 CAP is based on a ‘new delivery model’ where Member States must submit a National Strategic Plan presenting the country’s needs for each specific objective as well as the interventions they plan to implement to address these needs. This brief presents common findings on the environmental and climate ambition of the Strategic Plans, based on the assessments for four Member States (France, Spain, Poland and Germany) with large agricultural sectors and where the potential for addressing national and EU climate and environmental challenges is high. It also draws on examples from other Member States where relevant. Finally, it proposes overarching recommendations to improve the environmental and climate contribution of CAP Strategic Plans.

Our analysis of all four Strategic Plans suggests that these Member States did not take the opportunity of using the increased flexibility to significantly increase support for environmental and climate action. As a result, the Strategic Plans analysed in their current form seem insufficient to trigger the shift in farming systems and practices needed to respond to the scale and urgency of the climate and biodiversity crises. It therefore appears necessary to address various weaknesses identified in the Plans.

We conclude that Member States, which have the possibility to amend their Plans once a year, should use this opportunity to raise the ambition in the current CAP programming period. In particular, they should:

  • increase the budget for environmental and climate commitments, eco-schemes and cross-cutting interventions benefitting the climate and environment (including some investments, support for cooperation, support for knowledge exchange and advice). This increase could be funded by a decrease in the budgets of basic and coupled income support,
  • strengthen the requirements of ecoschemes and remove or improve less effective options,
  • increase the level of payment of environmental and climate commitments in order to increase their attractiveness and uptake,
  • ensure that these commitments are offered to farmers in regions where they are the most relevant,
  • link these commitments to improved advice and training support and
  • implement the necessary safeguards on coupled support, investments and risk management tools to ensure that they are not damaging for the climate, the environment and farms’ resilience.

Read the summary here.

Files to download

Environmental and climate assessments of CAP Strategic Plans_IEEP (2023)

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