The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) could support farmers to transition towards more sustainable farming systems, provided that a significant part of the money is ring-fenced for eco-schemes, according to a report published today.

Eco-schemes in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) can maximise environmental and climate benefits

According to Jan Plagge, IFOAM EU President: “The Commission’s proposal opens new opportunities to modernise the CAP and reward farmers for the public goods that they provide to society, but it falls short in budget allocation, design, and ambition of specific measures. The report highlights that the new eco-scheme will fail without ringfencing an adequate share of the CAP 1st pillar budget. IFOAM EU supports the report’s conclusions and requests policy-makers to set in all national CAP Strategic Plans an overall minimum budget of at least 70% for the delivery of public goods”.

Eric Gall, IFOAM EU Policy Manager, added that “Organic farmers welcome the efforts to move the CAP towards a results-based system, but it will only deliver for the environment if the Parliament and Council strengthen the policy’s planning, performance and monitoring and ensure that national governments involve environmental authorities, farmers and civil society in a participatory and transparent way in the design of the CAP strategic plans”.

Stephen Meredith, IEEP Senior Policy Analyst and a co-author of the report, said “The eco-scheme is potentially a novel way to initiate a more targeted and tailored approach for using direct payments to deliver genuine environmental public goods. For ambitious implementation to occur the priority should now focus on making this potential a reality by actively considering innovative configurations which enable Member States to effectively combine the eco-scheme with other elements of the green architecture and form coherent strategies for maximising environmental and climate benefits in the next CAP”.

The report CAP 2021-27: Using the eco-scheme to maximise environmental and climate benefits examines the eco-scheme proposal assessing the opportunities and risks of the new intervention as well as identifying what is needed to ensure that it reaches its full potential. It comes at a crucial moment in the negotiations about the CAP to establish the next farmers support programme in the EU for the period 2021-27. It is published by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and commissioned by IFOAM EU. In the report, the IEEP presents concrete recommendations of how to make the most of the CAP’s green architecture with the aim to mainstream sustainability in farming, using the Commission’s CAP proposal of June 2018 as basis, and drawing on the experiences of past reforms of the policy.

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