Europe’s rural land faces many competing demands for the provision of food, energy and timber, as well as environmental and cultural services. There is scarcely any true wilderness left in the EU, so the ways in which land is managed affects the quality of the environment as well as the character and social fabric of much of rural Europe.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) continues to be a major driver of land use and management decisions. Other sectoral policies, such as those promoting renewable energy, protecting biodiversity and regulating water quality and usage have an important influence too.
IEEP seeks to inform and influence the development of the key EU policies that affect the sustainable use of rural land and to encourage the integration of environmental priorities into these policies. We provide independent policy research, analysis and advice focussing on ways in which farming and forestry can help to protect Europe’s natural resources and the wide range of environmental goods and services which they support.
If caring for the planet starts from the ground, then caring for the planet starts with farmers, foresters and all others who manage and use the EU’s soils. It follows that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), as a major driver of the decisions made by Europe’s 12 million farmers, is critical to securing responsible, long term management of our soils and related ecosystem services.
The first meeting of the EU Stakeholder Platform for the European Climate Foundation's (ECF) Agriculture net-zero 2050 projectwill take place on the 29th of November in Brussels. Event will discuss the main climate-related drivers of change in the agriculture and land using sectors. Building on the discussions, subsequent phases of the project will investigate what possible transition pathways could look like and what would need to change to enable them to be realised in practice.
While the stand-off on agriculture is continuing between developed and developing countries within climate negotiations, there is a growing consensus among experts that agriculture --and more generally the land use sector--needs to rise at the top of UNFCCC agenda.
Europe needs to ratchet up its climate goals to deliver climate mitigation targets. At the UNFCCC's COP 23, IEEP will lead two side events looking at the role of land use and the agricultural sector in delivering this ambition. What will net zero emissions for agriculture look like, what policies are important in delivering Europe’s land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) goals? What is the role of agricultural policy?
A joint Ecologic, IEEP and Milieu study for DG Environment assesses the current status of EU policies and their ability to protect and improve soil status, the opportunities offered by national and regional policy action and additional policy needs.
High profile political support for agroecological approaches for farming, in France and Germany could provide some food for thought for the UK as its governments develop a framework for agriculture policy after Brexit.
IEEP is organising a one-day conference in Brussels on 5 October 2017 to present the findings of a major study on how civil society can support the use of market-based instruments to address pollution and resource use.
There is an emerging realisation that soil, and linked land use and management challenges, are fundamental to achieve sustainable development including in the areas of fighting against hunger, protecting life on land, moving to more responsible consumption and production, ensuring clean water and sanitation and addressing climate change. Addressing soil protection issues is fundamentally interconnected with our ability to deliver multiple societal needs, and the time to act is now.
A greater shift towards climate-smart agricultural land management is increasingly urgent if the EU is to reach the emissions reductions target set out in response to the Paris Agreement. To do so requires more emphasis on climate within the Common Agricultural Policy and action to reduce the climate footprint of consumer consumption patterns.
Sowing the seeds of optimism for Europe’s biggest environmental challenges. This article is based on an interview between IEEP Executive Director, Céline Charveriat, and Debating Europe – a citizen’s forum for European issues.
In the immediate aftermath of President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris agreement, the sixth largest economy of the world, California, signed an agreement with China to fight climate change. While non-binding, such cooperation represents a “trickle-up” approach to global climate change governance and is part of a wave of initiatives from non-state actors including civil society, the private sector and local authorities.