11th International Seminar: Are agricultural policies realizing its environmental sustainability goals?

Published On: March 28, 2017

Friday 7 April 2017. Madrid.

When the Common agricultural policy (CAP) was created in 1957, two of its main objectives were ensuring food security and a fair standard of living for farmers and their families. But over the last 25 years improving the environmental sustainability of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been another important objective of the several reforms that the CAP has experienced. Similarly the Swiss agricultural policy shall contribute – among other goals – to the conservation of the natural resources. 

The latest reform of the CAP (2015-2020) has introduced as a new element the greening payment (“Payment for agricultural practices beneficial for the climate and the environment”), linked to environmental basic practices. Also the now called agri-environment-climate measures (AECM), are intended to strengthen the environmental sustainability of European agriculture and facilitate the alignment with other environmental policies like the Water Framework Directive, Nitrates Directive and the Birds and Habitats Directive.

Assessments on how member states have implemented the CAP measures in the recent funding period, how they have addressed main challenges and what can be considered as examples of good practices that could inspire other regions are rare. Challenges might include aspects related to monitoring and enforcement, miss alignment with other policies, as well as budget allocations.

This seminar is organized in the context of the European BiodivERsA-FACCE JPI project TALE “Towards multifunctional landscapes in Europe: Assessing and governing synergies and trade-offs between food production, biodiversity and ecosystem services (2015-2018)”. The main goal of TALE is to explore how different policy scenarios could contribute to reconcile food production with the provision of ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation in five contrasting European agricultural landscapes from Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. To this end, a detailed analysis has been carried out to understand how agricultural policies (and the latest reform) have been implemented in the different member regions, and particularly in what refers to new greening payment of Pillar I and the agrienvironment-climate measures of Pillar II, and its links to water and biodiversity targets.

This seminar seeks to discuss with experts and decision makers the challenges and opportunities Europe and particularly Spain is facing to implement the new CAP and its environmental related measures, and the lessons learnt from this new reform period. To frame the discussion, the seminar will begin with the a short overview on the policy outcomes of the TALE analysis and with a special focus on the lessons learnt and best practice examples of the case studies. Following, relevant Spanish experts involved in the implementation of the CAP at different levels will provide their view on the specific challenges for Spain and ways forward.

This seminar is co-organized between the Research Center for the Management of Agricultural and Environmental Risks (CEIGRAM) from the Technical University of Madrid, the IMDEA Water Institute and the Water Observatory of the Botin Foundation, and it is open to all experts and professionals working/interested in the CAP and its environmental sustainability pillar.

Venue: Botin Foundation (c/Castello 18c, 28001 Madrid).​​ 10-14 h.



-10:00-10:15. Welcome.

  • Dña. Barbara Willaarts, Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones de Riesgos Agrarios y Medioambientales, CEIGRAM.
  • Dña. Lucia De Stefano, Observatorio del Agua – Fundación Botín.
  • D. Martin Volk, Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren-UFZ.

-10:15-10:45. Overview of the Integrated Policy Analysis developed in TALE.

  • Dña. Heike Nitsch, Institute for Rural Development Research, IFLS. Challenges and opportunities linked to the implementation of the agri-environmental instruments after the CAP-reform: A comparative analysis from five European countries.

-10:45-11:15. The CAP and the Rural Development Programme in Spain.

  • Dña. Isabel Aguilar, Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. Contribution of the Spanish Rural Development Programmes to the environmental goals of the UE.

-11:15-11:45. Coffee break.

-11:45-12:45. Lessons learnt from the implementation of the new CAP in Spain.

  • Dña. Ana Carricondo y Celsa Peiteado, SEO Birdlife/WWF. CAP´s environmental objectives and outcomes: present and future in Spain.
  • D. Tomás García Azcarate (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas). The CAP after 2014: Hopes and disappointments. Some lessons for the future.

-12:45-13:15. Discussion and concluding remarks.

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