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Farmland Birds and the 2007-2013 RDPs of the New Member States: BirdLife’s Perspective Marcus Gilleard Rural Development Policy & Accession Officer for.

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Presentation on theme: "Farmland Birds and the 2007-2013 RDPs of the New Member States: BirdLife’s Perspective Marcus Gilleard Rural Development Policy & Accession Officer for."— Presentation transcript:

1 Farmland Birds and the RDPs of the New Member States: BirdLife’s Perspective Marcus Gilleard Rural Development Policy & Accession Officer for birds  for people  for ever

2 Central, Eastern & Southern Europe harbour important biodiversity: direct result of retaining extensive areas of HNV habitat – especially low- intensity farmland

3 Much of what is left is concentrated in the new EU12 and accession countries Farmland bird hotspots Source: EBCC Atlas, RSPB, York University

4 SpeciesEU12 ‘New’ MSEU15 ‘Old’ MS Lesser grey shrike876,5405,598 Corncrake *152,00014,594 White stork90,80931,078 Roller14,6954,230 Lesser spotted eagle *12, Aquatic warbler *3,76015 Red-footed falcon3,36081 Great bustard *1,24124,735 Imperial eagle *1442 Source: BirdLife International (2004), Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status Disproportionate share of birds in EU27

5 Why should we be concerned now? Note: numbers in brackets indicate number of farmland specialists Impact of continued intensification & further abandonment as countries adjust to historical events and EU policies - especially the CAP

6 Loss of habitat diversity Bird species richness decreases with increasing homogeneity of habitats

7 But we’re not simply interested in birds … Justifying continuation of generous public support to farmers requires guaranteed delivery of public goods and services: a thriving countryside, with traditional landscapes, recreational opportunities, increased jobs, production of good quality & healthy food, and protection of natural resources (e.g. soil, water, air, biodiversity) Striving to ensure NMS do not experience same dramatic decline in farmland birds seen in EU15

8 What is the RSPB & BirdLife doing in the NMS? Influencing national RD strategies, programmes and ex-ante evaluations (members of RD working groups; many AES and Natura 2000 proposals developed) Informing DG Agriculture and DG Environment of Natura 2000, agri-environment and other concerns as part of the approval of national RDPs - to safeguard high nature value habitats and biodiversity Helping governments with implementation (including advisory work), monitoring, on-going development and adjustment of agri-environment schemes and Natura 2000 plans during , particularly in the run-up to 2010

9 Study on agri-environment schemes RSPB commissioned study in 2006 focusing on 9 out of 12 New Member States, in conjunction with BirdLife Partners and independent agri-environment experts Evaluated contribution of existing and planned agri-environment schemes to the management of farmland habitats for birds Particular focus on IBAs/SPAs and 25 key species for which the NMS hold significant populations across the EU27 Results presented to DG Agri in Nov 2006; used to influence assessment and approval of RDPs – and ongoing development of schemes over

10 Study on Agri-Environment Schemes Are bird conservation priorities adequately addressed in the objectives, targeting and funding of the RDPs? Is the design of agri-environment schemes and measures fit for the purpose of safeguarding and managing farmland habitats for bird conservation priorities? What are the barriers to delivery of appropriate, targeted and effective agri- environment measures where they are needed for bird conservation priorities? What is the contribution of other CAP policies to the delivery of effective agri- environment schemes for bird conservation

11 Study on Agri-Environment Schemes Key message from the final report: “Without properly designed and targeted agri-environment schemes, the delivery of specialist training and advice for farmers, effective monitoring systems, and sufficient funds and competitive payment rates, many species will be pushed ever closer to the brink of extinction.” Keenleyside C., et al (2006) Farmland birds and agri- environment schemes in the New Member States. A report for the RSPB, UK

12 Our primary concerns over RDPs Disparity between biodiversity issues conveyed in national strategies and priorities set by rural development programmes – substantiated by ‘ex- ante’ evaluations; failure of ‘partnership principle’ Focus on increasing competitiveness (modernisation, infrastructure development) with few environmental safeguards and lack of integration with Axis 2 objectives Few resources allocated to Axis 2 (in some cases the bare minimum) and no guarantee that sufficient funds will be targeted to ‘adequately’ conserve and enhance biodiversity resources (e.g. due to LFAs scheme) – does not have to hinder technological advancement

13 Our primary concerns over RDPs Many existing agri-environment schemes have barely been improved, some beneficial schemes actually being abandoned or weakened, with funds directed at basic ‘entry-level’ type schemes that require little (if any) change in practices and deliver few benefits to the environment – to spend funds quickly. Few effective farmland bird schemes that do exist will continue to suffer from lack of uptake, primarily due to phased introduction, no ‘ring-fencing’ of funds, competing objectives, low payment rates, lack of advisory support and inappropriate targeting – misconception that such schemes are more difficult to implement.

14 Our primary concerns over RDPs NATURA 2000 network is at risk due to delayed introduction of ‘effective’ agri-environment schemes or management plans, insufficient effort to develop ‘interim’ management provisions, and funding inadequate or likely to be misused through ‘top-up’ approach linked to inappropriately designed agri-environment schemes Further issues over designation of NATURA 2000 sites and question of how any subsequently designated sites will be supported – BUT also large areas of unprotected HNV farmland and excluded IBAs

15 Key Recommendations Need to demonstrate that any focus on increasing competitiveness is compatible with Axis 2 objectives, especially protection of biodiversity – particular concerns include land consolidation, drainage, irrigation All activities on farmland (Axis 1, 2 or 3) should respect environmental standards, particularly habitat protection and designation of protected sites (e.g. afforestation, tourism, biofuels)

16 Key Recommendations Ensure adequate funds and appropriately designed schemes are targeted at the management of NATURA 2000 sites, other large areas of unprotected HNV farmland and IBAs Coherent funding package needed across all three axes to help meet the needs of HNV farming communities and avoid exclusion of subsistence and semi-subsistence farmers in favour of already large and commercial enterprises

17 Key Recommendations Adequate advisory services, training and information should be provided to raise awareness and support farmers on how to manage farmland in a way that generates economic and environmental benefits Inclusion of ‘Farmland Bird Index’ as indicator for Axis 2, and adequate monitoring system Key eNGOs should be included in National Rural Networks and Monitoring Committees

18 Final Messages NMS must fully recognise the importance and allocate sufficient resources to meaningful schemes and supporting mechanisms that help protect the environment and conserve biodiversity to: (1) avoid a repeat of the devastating impact of agricultural intensification seen across the EU15; (2) help meet the EU’s Göteborg commitment to halt biodiversity decline by 2010; and (3) help safeguard future EU rural development support BUT ‘window of opportunity’ rapidly closing – need to identify what agri-environment schemes are missing or should be improved, uptake (ha) necessary, priority areas and budget required – AND adequate approach to support N2K

19 Further information: Thank you


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