After the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Health Check legislative package
adopted by the Council of Ministers at the end of 2008, the next step for the
Common Agricultural Policy is the reform due by 2013. The objectives are to
maintain a viable food production linked to a sustainable management of natural
resources and a balanced territorial development. Besides economic and social
goals, environment (Greenhouse gases, soil depletion, water and air quality,
habitat, biodiversity…) has become the backbone of the CAP reform, justifying
also European subsidies at international level.
At the same time, many farming practices have the potential to put pressure on
the environment, leading to soil depletion, water shortages and pollution, and loss
of wildlife habitats and biodiversity. Moreover, focus should be made on the
agricultural sector's potential to mitigate, adapt and make a positive contribution
to reduce climate change effects through Green House Gas (GHG) emission
reduction, production efficiency measures including improvements in energy
efficiency, biomass and renewable energy production, carbon sequestration and
protection of carbon in soils.
The European Commission Standing Committee on Agricultural Research
(SCAR) in its third foresight exercise highlighted the increasing scarcity of
natural resources, the destabilisation of environmental systems and that the
impacts of many food production systems are exceeding environmental limits
which compromise the capacity to produce food in the future.
The European Commission communication, issued in November 2010 confirmed
that agriculture and forestry play a key role in, amongst others, producing public
goods, notably environmental such as landscapes, farmland biodiversity and
Another milestone in the inter-relation between agriculture and environment in
2012 will be the Blueprint to safeguard EU waters which is the convergence of 3
assessments scheduled for 2012, where the Agri Env action will contribute on
The green growth foreseen by the CAP reform will therefore fully participate to
the EU 2020 strategy.
In this context of major policy reform and reflection, the AGRI-ENV Action
provides the science and technical basis for geo-spatial and modelling-based ex-
post and ex-ante assessments of the impacts of the CAP and Rural Development
policies on environmental priorities, the energy discussions related to biofuels,
and the changing emphasis in agricultural policies, ranging from issues related to
food security, thought rural development and across to agricultural land
Summary of the project:
The AGRI-ENV Action supports Commission services and Member State
administrations in understanding the inter-relations between agriculture and the
environment and thus provides sound scientific knowledge to assist with policy
implementation and review.
AGRI-ENV will support the development of indicators of the Common
Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (CMEF) needed for monitoring the
integration of environmental concerns into the CAP, assessing the agri-
environmental trends and the impact of policy decisions on the environment. The
AGRI-ENV Action is involved in indicators dealing with landscape and farmland
abandonment and collaborate with other JRC Actions.
The first objective of the CAP reform (viable food production) includes the
compensation for production difficulties in areas with specific natural constraints
because such regions are at increased risk of land abandonment. During 2012 a
major effort on the definition of the agri environment indicator on the risk of Land
Abandonment will be undertaken, producing a first spatial overview of the risk.
The AGRI-ENV Action will continue its support in the policy implementation of
the legislation for areas with Natural Constraints, where a major policy shift is
The AGRI-ENV Action will also be involved in the CAP objective dealing with
sustainable management of natural resources and climate action. In this context, a
Farm Level Carbon Calculator will be developed as a joint activity with relevant
Additional activities, linked to the EU agenda on Bio-fuels production, in-depth
analysis of the role that crop production plays in relation to the provision of
ecosystem goods and services, and components of the Green Infrastructure will
also be carried out, in collaboration with the relevant JRC activities.