Policy seminar, European Parliament, Brussels, 8 November 2012
Organized by the Pogány-havas Association with the support of the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism, Sógor Csaba MEP, DG Environment and the Society of Biology UK.
“Hay meadows provide an immense range of benefits to farming communities and wider society. They create some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery and cultural landscapes. Simply to watch this natural, environmental and cultural heritage disappear before our eyes is, surely, not an option we can consider.” HRH the Prince of Wales
Pictured: Gergely Rodics (Pogány-havas Association), Csaba Sógor MEP, Rebecca Barrett (N Pennines AONB), Guy Beaufoy (EFNCP)
and Gwyn Jones (EFNCP). Also speaking: Giovanni Malfatti (Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform).
Traditionally managed hay meadows full of flowers, insects and other animal life are among the most biodiverse places in Europe and a source of joy, inspiration and beauty to all. They are a living part of our shared culture and heritage. They provide many environmental, social and economic benefits. They are protected by EU policy and subsidies. Yet they continue to disappear, through abandonment, intensification or conversion to other uses. This policy seminar discussed how European institutions can protect these treasures and support the farmers who manage them more effectively.
|HRH Charles, Prince of Wales||Video message|
|Gwyn Jones||Meadows - touchstones of HNV farming?|
|Rodics Gergely||Europe's hay meadows in decline - what are we losing and what can we do? A case study from Eastern Transylvania.|
|Rebecca Barrett||The North Pennines, England|
|Giovanni Malfatti||The role and responsibility of the food industry|
|Guy Beaufoy||Hay meadows are in decline - what should the EU do about it?|
Conclusions and Recommendations
Hay meadows fit well with the EU's 2020 priorities - they offer resource efficiency, a low-carbon economy and jobs in marginalised communities. EU biodiversity targets (both for habitats and species and ecosystem services) mean that we MUST halt hay-meadow decline.
In fact, hay meadows are good "miners' canaries" of High Nature Value farming:
"The miner's canary depends on the miner, but is more sensitive than him to changes which threatenthem both."
EU has agreed the aims and provides the instruments - but not all countries are delivering. The seminar gave the example of Romania, which has a commendable and ambitious scheme for HNV grasslands, but one which needs extending and to be better adapted for hay meadows. But other Member States are lagging far behind in using the tools provided by the EU to pursue EU priorities e.g. Spain has vast areas of HNV farming and hay meadows, but has very limited agri-environment schemes for them.
The EU institutions and governance systems do not ensure consistent effort to deliver EU priorities, or best practice - a situation which makes a mockery of EU goals and institutions. Agri-environment schemes are essential but not enough - we also need measures to support the farming systems and economy.In this context local projects make a crucial difference - they multiply the benefits of top-down schemes. The seminar heard examples from Romania and England.
Post 2013 we must:
To measure policy effects we need monitoring systems using sample surveys of:
All countries should already be doing this under the Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (CMEF) for Pillar 2, but most are not doing it; from 2013, the indicators will apply to the whole CAP, so it becomes even more important that they are implemented.
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