Goals

Agricultural land use in Europe has a significant impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services on and outside Natura 2000 sites. EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its ‘second pillar’ funds – distributed by Member States through the Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) – thus affect rural biodiversity and ecosystems. RDPs should contribute to the conservation of rural biodiversity, as it has been proposed in the Community’s Strategic Guidelines for Rural Development, 2007-2013. Member States (MSs) should finalize their new RDPs by mid 2014, which will come into effect in 2015 and which will have fundamental effects not only on rural communities, but also on rural biodiversity and ecosystems. During 2014, NGOs can still influence Member State RDPs by providing recommendations for more biodiversity-friendly RDPs – both in design and in implementation methodologies, whereas in 2015, focus shall be on adequate implementation and the use of the new tools such as the European Innovation Partnership. This is an important opportunity for NGOs to work with community groups, land managers and other actors to ensure a more environment- and climate-friendly implementation of EU agricultural policy, by building bridges among stakeholders. Also, we should share our experiences with members out of the EU, therefore CEEweb with its partners also carries out a project to aid Balkan countries about small scale farming experiences.