2,500 scientists call for Common Agricultural Policy reform

7th November 2019

Web farming istock 832155674

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Agriculture ,
  • Biodiversity ,
  • EU ,
  • Policy



Organisations representing over 2,500 scientists have written to the EU calling for far-reaching reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) without delay.

In a letter to the European Parliament, the scientists warn that the CAP has led to an intensification of agricultural practices, including a drastic rise in pesticide use, irrigation expansion and destruction of pasture lands.

And there is now “unequivocal scientific consensus“ that this has helped result in a more than 55% decline in European farmland bird populations between 1980 and 2015.

In addition, the scientists highlight a more than 76% reduction in insect abundance in Germany between 1989 and 2016, pushing remaining populations to “critical levels“.

“The CAP is turning rural areas into green deserts of uninhabitable, maximum-yield monocultures,“ the letter states.

“Without a fundamental reform of the CAP, such negative trends will not only diminish nature in current EU member states, but will also threaten the nature of candidate ones.“

The letter explains how current agri-environmental schemes are both underfunded and insufficiently targeted to meet the scale of the damage to farmland biodiversity.

It also states that greening measures within Pillar 1 of the CAP are largely ineffective at retaining or restoring biodiversity, and too often poorly controlled.

Moreover, proposals put forward by the European Commission for the CAP post-2020 “fail to offer real reform“, and even risk lower ambition, according to the letter.

The scientists said that CAP reform must deliver sustainable and diversified agriculture through spatially-targeted measures, supporting smaller farms that carry out sustainable practices.

This can be achieved by truly aligning the CAP with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. For example, specific funding for biodiversity on farms can make extensive grazing a viable and competitive option for livestock farmers.

The scientific evidence is clear that climate change and biodiversity loss need to be tackled as an utmost priority if the EU is to uphold the main goal of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, the letter says.

The EU must be a pioneer in responding to these challenges and the CAP must be part of that response, rather than continuing being the cause of greater environmental degradation.

The European Mammal Foundation, European Bird Census Council, European Ornithologists Union, Societas Europaea Herpetologica, Societas Europaea Lepidopterologica and Butterfly Conservation Europe are all signatories.

Image credit: ©iStock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

How much is too much?

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

A hangover from EU legislation, requirements on the need for consideration of nutrient neutrality for developments on many protected sites in England were nearly removed from the planning system in 2023.

2nd April 2024

Read more

It’s well recognised that the public sector has the opportunity to work towards a national net-zero landscape that goes well beyond improving on its own performance; it can also influence through procurement and can direct through policy.

19th March 2024

Read more

The UK government’s carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) strategy is based on optimistic techno-economic assumptions that are now outdated, Carbon Tracker has warned.

13th March 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close