HNV farming & European biodiversity goals
The HNV farming concept emphasises that European conservation goals cannot be met by only protecting particular habitats or species, or designating certain areas for their management, such as Natura 2000 sites. We must also maintain the low-intensity landuses that favour the dynamics of natural processes and create opportunities for biodiversity to flourish across large, contiguous areas of land. These different approaches are entirely complementary.
Providing effective economic support to HNV farming implies a fundamental shift in the way that the CAP operates, and in the way that funds are distributed to European farming. As payments to Europe’s more productive and competitive farming are phased out after 2013, it will be important to have clearly identified the types of farming that still need public support, and are justified in receiving it.
An effective support system is urgently needed for HNV farming. Without it, the EU’s goal of halting the loss of biological diversity1 at all levels cannot possibly be met. This is one of the conclusions of the SEBI 2010-report3 (EEA 2010: 40f): ‘Maintaining HNV systems is critical to sustaining and developing biodiversity.’ It continues to list the current problems of the CAP experienced by HNV farmers.
This need is even reflected in the latest EU biodiversity strategy2: Action 8 ‘Enhance direct payments for environmental public goods in the EU Common Agricultural Policy’ & Action 9 ‘Better target Rural Development to biodiversity conservation’.
EFNCP, together with several other NGO’s has recently made proposals which address these issues:
- for a new CAP
- for the 2013 CAP-reform
- for the adaptation of CAP pillar 1 to support public goods (“permanent pastures & meadows”)
1The Kyiv Biodiversity Resolution, 5th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 2003.
2COM (2011) 244, ‘Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020’, May 2011.
3EEA (2010): Assessing biodiversity in Europe — the 2010 report. Chapter 3.5, Copenhagen.