Food and Environmental Security: Two Objectives for a Post-2013 CAP
Even before the oil and agricultural commodity price spike of 2007/08, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) suggested that it was not too soon to start a Europe-wide debate of the post-2013 objectives and nature of the CAP. In the context of a thorough review of Europe’s budget and all its policies, and following the attempts to agree an EU constitution, we felt it appropriate to take a long and wide perspective. Our own idea is that in the 21st Century the world faces two gigantic challenges: a food challenge to feed better the anticipated larger and richer population, and an environmental challenge to better protect biodiversity, landscape and natural resources with significantly lower pollution not least of green house gases. We argue that because of its economic size, political importance and history Europe has a particular responsibility in rising to these challenges. We suggest the two challenges are highly interactive: agriculture depends on the environment, and the environment is massively impacted by farming, and climate change intensifies both.
Our suggestion is that the slogan of Food and Environmental Security neatly summarises in a positive, easily understood way the challenges faced and thus a suitable pair of objectives for the new post-2013 CAP which could command wide public support.
Further, agriculture and environment are key EU competences and so they currently account for a significant part of the EU budget. Our suggestion is that the slogan of Food and Environmental Security neatly summarises in a positive, easily understood way the challenges faced and thus a suitable pair of objectives for the new post-2013 CAP which could command wide public support. Of course there is much work to tease out and agree the policy measures and instruments needed to deliver simultaneously Food and Environmental Security, and how to transform the post-Health Check CAP. However, if all those environmental, rural development, agricultural, forestry and other land management interest groups do not find a way to make a case for such an integrated policy, and for the necessary budget resources to deliver them, no one else will. It is not evident to us that spending about 0.5% of EU GDP p.a. to provide for Food and Environmental Security is self-evidently grotesque.
04 Nov 2008
Allan Buckwell is Policy Director for the UK Country Land and Business Association (CLA).