Today the European Commission launched its long-awaited public consultation on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is calling for a sustainable food and farming system.
Currently around 35% of the entire EU budget goes to the CAP. The current CAP is undermining the environment, public health and sustainable development while failing to halt the collapse in the number of EU farmers. A reformed CAP must work coherently with all other policies, especially environmental ones, to ensure a viable future for farmers, citizens and nature.
The CAP remains an environmentally damaging policy that contributes to climate change, biodiversity loss, soil erosion and water pollution. Farmland birds are now the most threatened bird group in Europe having declined by almost 50% in the last 30 years. Previous attempts at “greening” the CAP are failing both the environment and biodiversity.
The consultation is a welcome start to a new debate on the future CAP. It’s lamentable that there is no mention of Sustainable Development Goals as being a priority for the next CAP, which was set out as part of the Commission’s work plan for 2017. We will be calling to ensure these are at the centre of any new policy.
Trees Robijns, Senior EU Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia said: “Today’s launch of reform of the CAP is an opportunity to put in place a farming system that incentivises farming that serves the needs of people and the planet. Commissioner Hogan can lead in transforming what is a policy dinosaur and create a system fit for the times we live in.”
Martin Hellicar, Director of BirdLife Cyprus stated: “For Cyprus, we need a CAP that translates into effective support for small farmers and their communities, rather than massive subsidies for a few big, industrial, environmentally damaging farms. We want a CAP that helps protect sustainable production of healthy food and a traditional countryside rich in wildlife. The CAP largely defines what farmers do. It has to become a force for good.”
To follow our upcoming campaign on the CAP reform watch this space and follow #LivingLand.