There is great technical potential for the agricultural sector to contribute to the improvement of water, land and landscape management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and an efficient use of energy and resources, but putting this into practice is proving rather difficult.
At the European Union level, there is a strong policy coherence between the cross-compliance and environmental objectives of the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and policies on water, land, energy and climate. Also, rural development policy and stimulation of competitiveness of the agricultural sector by the CAP may be in line with these objectives, if rural environmental objectives are met and competitiveness is reached by resource efficiency.
However, coherence in implementation on national, regional and local levels has been weaker, leading to conflicts in policy implementation both vertically between administrative levels and horizontally between sectors.
These findings support the proposal by DG Agriculture and Rural Development for the CAP 2021 – 2027 to reinforce the conditionality for receiving public CAP funding. According to this proposal, public funding should be more explicitly based on compliance with environmental objectives and delivering environmental public services. The CAP and policies on water, land, energy and climate could explicitly address mutual conflicts and opportunities for synergy and develop regulation on how to cope with them.
SIM4NEXUS mapped and analysed the policy coherence between the current CAP and current policies on water, land, energy and climate, in nine case studies, covering Greece, Latvia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Andalusia (Spain), Sardinia (Italy), South-West England (United Kingdom) and two transboundary areas including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany; and the upper-Rhine basin in Germany and France.
European Commission DG Agriculture and Rural Development, 2019. The post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy: Environmental Benefits and Simplification.