EUROPARC Position Paper – Sustainable Agriculture & Protected Areas

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EUROPARC Policy Office in Brussels and the members of the Agriculture and Protected Areas Commission, launched today the EUROPARC Position Paper on European Protected Areas & Sustainable Agriculture. The document aims to contribute to the current debate on the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform for the period after 2020. 

A competitive agriculture needs a healthy environment and nature resources as they are provided by Protected Areas. Likewise, a healthy environment and nature protection need farmers’ engagement.

While agriculture and Protected Areas are often perceived to be in opposition, but are in fact complementary: Agricultural activities play a key role in the management of EU land and the conservation of its biodiversity, as almost half the territory consists of farmland. Protected Areas and agricultural production are part of the same landscape and of a larger, more integrated rural ecosystem from which natural goods and services can be optimised with integrated complimentary systems.

EUROPARC is committed to supports positive dialogue between agricultural and Protected Area communities and has identified a huge number of success stories showcasing the effective partnerships already existing in many European National, Regional and Periurban Parks, conciliating farming interests with biodiversity conservation, contributing to climate change actions and fostering the creation of Europe’s rural areas as living landscapes.

Learn more about the experiences available from the EUROPARC Network in our Toolbox on Sustainable Agriculture.

The role of Protected Areas and Natura 2000 Sites in rural development needs to be valorised by the new CAP.

Protected Areas are committed to improve partnership with farmers for developing common solutions and creating mutual benefits. These efforts have to be awarded by EU and national and regional authorities at financial, legal and political level. Besides, Protected Areas can play a crucial role in increasing consumers’ awareness and public involvement. Specific measures, programmes and funds have to be adopted to support methodologies, projects and collective initiatives on partnership building among Protected Areas, Natura 2000 Sites, farmers and consumers.

The new CAP should pay specific attention to farmers acting within or close to Protected Areas and Natura 2000 Sites, engaged in environment-friendly agriculture and working in partnership with Protected Areas authorities, in order to recognise their work and reward their effort.

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Download EUROPARC Position Paper

The EUROPARC position paper “European Protected Areas & Sustainable Agriculture: Working in Partnership for Biodiversity and Rural Development” introduces the role of Protected Areas, illustrated by many successful examples of collaboration with farmers from the EUROPARC network, and reinforces the need for new, better-integrated approaches and more innovative funding mechanisms at regional, national and European level. It builds on 5 key-strategic points outlining concrete ways how Protected Areas’ potential to integrate EU agricultural interests with environmental concerns can be tapped within a reformed CAP framework.

Read here the full EUROPARC Position Paper and follow up our Sustainable Agriculture Policy Section, constantly updated with the latest developments on the EU Common Agricultural Policy Reform discussion.