Climate and the future of the Common Agriculture Policy among the hot topics 

On 9th April Brussels hosted the annual Forum for the Future of Agriculture. The dense programme saw the presence of Commissioners and high representatives of EU institutions, companies and NGOs, but also farmers, bringing forward their experience and challenges.

The event showcased innovations and trends in the sector, with a strong focus on sustainability, circularity and waste reduction. This year’s theme was “The next generation”, declined in the different subthemes of the new partners, perspectives, and consumers.

In his intervention, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete underlined the multidimensional nature of agricultural policies: farmers are on the front lines when it comes to delivering on the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals, and they contribute to the achievement of public goods, such as food security, economic growth, social cohesion, sustainability and geopolitical stability. The role of farmers and agriculture in the transition towards sustainability, climate change mitigation and adaptation are central in the Commission’s proposal for the future CAP.

Focused on the CAP was also Phil Hogan’s speech at the event. The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development explained how the proposal for the post-2020 CAP replaces the “greening system” with a three layers approach based on: conditionality; ecoschemes in the first pillar, mandatory for Members States but voluntary for farmers; tools in the second pillar, such as agri-environment and climate measures under which farmers can voluntary provide more targeted public goods for which they will be paid. The income support provided to farmers under these conditions will serve the double purpose of incentivizing them to embrace better environmental and climate practices, while at the same time rewarding the work they do in the provision of the public goods and sustainability objectives.