CAP post 2013 - last call for sustainability?


Source: European Environmental Bureau

 On September 23rd an informal Agriculture Council meeting will be held in Annecy, dedicated to the future of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2013. BirdLife International, EEB and Pesticide Action Network warned Ministers that  the issue of food and energy security - and prices -  can only be addressed effectively through a new model of agriculture that emits less greenhouse gases, consumes less natural resources and is less harmful for citizens' and ecosystems' health.

The organisations are rejecting calls for a narrow focus on a short term production boost, through for example increased use of pesticides and fertilisers and ploughing previously uncultivated grasslands, regardless of the environmental and social price. They pointed out that this would not only be economically and environmentally short-sighted and counterproductive, but also further erode the credibility and legitimacy of the CAP and the EU, which should use tax-payers' money only for public goods and services, in the interest of society as a whole.

Ariel Brunner, EU Agriculture Policy Officer of BirdLife, said: 'At a time when climate change creates great uncertainties over the future, and potentially raises issues of global food security, the best the EU can do to secure its own food supply as well as the world's, is to heavily invest in the conservation of the environmental services (soil, water and biodiversity) that are essential for productive farming.'

Pieter De Pous, EEB water policy officer, said: 'Europe doesn't have the luxury of ignoring the fact that the current CAP is just not up to the job of dealing with the big environmental issues of climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and the long-term food security issues that are linked to them. EU ministers must acknowledge this and adopt the necessary measures such as boosting spending for agri-environmental schemes.'

Henriette Christensen from Pesticide Action Network (PAN), added: 'The time has come to reflect on a holistic approach for European agriculture, where high agricultural productivity is achieved by truly sustainable agricultural production systems in which agrochemical inputs and environmental damage are minimised, among others through integrated productions and where local people control local production using local varieties.>

A true reform of the CAP, the approval of robust soil and pesticide legislation and the full implementation of the water framework directive are the real tests for Europe's commitment to ensuring its long-term food supply and ecosystem and human health.

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