DETAILED ANALYSIS OF THE SECTORS IDENTIFIED
The Common Agricultural Policy is one of the
truly common policies of the European Union. It controls Community
support for agricultural activities and influences land use across
half of the EU territory. So far, economic support has been given
to farmers in proportion to the amount of food produced. However,
agriculture is not just a matter of producing food; it relates
to the use of natural resources such as water, soil and plants
with major implications for biodiversity and the landscape. The
CAP operates through a system of production related subsidies,
pushing the use of natural resources at an unsustainable rate.
Many scientific and policy studies testify that this policy is
responsible for environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity,
loss of jobs in rural areas and loss of traditional landscape.
A more radical reform of the CAP is needed in
the immediate future.
The recent approval of the Agenda 2000 package
of reforms, including the agricultural sector, has only partially
begun to address some of the general environmental issues, with
the approval of the cross compliance regulation, area payments
in Less Favoured Areas, national envelopes and the creation of
the Rural Development Regulation. However, the success of these
first measures to integrate environmental concerns into the CAP
will depend greatly on the extent to and ways in which these measures
are implemented by Member States. It will also depend on the Commission's
will to pursue the objectives of sustainability stated in the
The Commission and the Council should pursue
effective implementation of the current legislation to maximise
the integration of environmental considerations into the agriculture
sector. The Council and the Commission now have the responsibility
and the opportunity to make the integration process something
less abstract and more real through the production of a meaningful
strategy for concrete action.
For the effective implementation of existing
policy instruments the UK Government should press for the strategy
to contain the following:
Within the CAP:
The full application and monitoring
of a mandatory Cross-Compliance measure in Member States. The
Commission should withdraw payments where appropriate environmental
conditions are not respected.
A broad range of environmental indicators
to monitor the state of the farmed environment.
A call to Member States to make effective
use of the National Envelopes to support extensive farming systems.
A request for Member States to implement
the Rural Development Regulation:
by allocating appropriate economic
support to the co-funded measures;
by ensuring a balanced allocation of
funds to different measures within the plans to avoid competition
and distortion in the implementation of the new Rural Development
A commitment to ensure that:
afforestation of grassland and pseudo-steppic
habitats (formerly 2080-92) is not funded under the Rural Development
irrigation plans are not funded in extensive
arable habitats which are part of the Natura 2000 network.
A call for Member States to allow
the participation of environmental Non-Governmental Organisations
as competent participants in the appraisal of rural development
Allocation of priority funding for
rural development projects with clear environmental and
A call for Member States to increase
the funding of agri-environment measures and to give more support
for converting to organic food production. Agri-environment measures
should be primarily funded in areas where the Community has defined
a priority of interest, such as SPAs (Special Protection Areas)
and SACs (Special Areas of Conservation).
A commitment to enforce the full
implementation of the Nitrates, Habitats, & Wild Birds Directives
as required by EU environmental legislation, with no further delays.
A commitment to encourage EU-wide
adoption of economic instruments such as pesticide taxation in
order to limit the harmful impacts of toxic substances used in
agriculture while minimising distortions in the Single Market.
This would be consistent with the Polluter Pays Principle enshrined
in the Treaty of Amsterdam.
A commitment to pursue the reduction
of market protection through export subsidies and import levies
in the forthcoming World Trade Organisation round. Market protection
has environmental, social and economic impacts on developing economies,
while protecting intensive agriculture in Europe.
A clear undertaking to fully adhere
to the Precautionary Principle of the Treaty when addressing the
issue of genetic modification. No genetically modified organisms
should be released into the agricultural environment until the
potential risk to biodiversity and landscape has been rigorously
A timetable to put in place a plan
for the internalisation of environmental costs in agriculture
through a combination of economic and regulatory measures.
A timetable for a review and appraisal
of environmental problems that any future policy review might
bring (eg changes in the set-aside rate and changes in prices).
Use of the preparation of sectoral
Biodiversity Action Plans under the EC Biodiversity Strategy to
identify priority farmland species and habitats which Member States
should take action to protect. Sectoral Biodiversity Action Plans
A commitment to increased funds for
LIFE-Nature projects in agricultural areas.
Use of the Water Framework Directive
to ensure the sustainable use of water in agriculture.
A proposal that during all the presidencies
of the EU:
The UK Government should also press for the
strategy to also address the next round of reforms of the
Common Agricultural Policy giving priority to:
De-coupling agricultural support
from production, addressing the decline of rural economies, promoting
sustainable forms of agriculture, creating jobs and safeguarding
Shifting funds to a new integrated
rural policy that delivers support to rural communities, including
farmers, and that promotes diversification of sustainable rural
Increasing the level of funding and
expanding the coverage of agri-environmental measures to address
specific environmental needs, and creating an effective monitoring
system on the environmental benefits of the schemes.
Eliminating competition for funding
between different measures (eg the agri-environment regulation
2078/92 and the afforestation regulation 2080/92) by prescribing
a balance of funding for different activities.
Including strategic environmental
assessment of policy reforms: future reforms of the CAP should
undergo a thorough assessment of the environmental impact on biodiversity
and landscape, as well as on the social and economic aspects of
The Commission manages development co-operation
programmes of around U$ 6.7 billion per year. The UK, through
the Department for International Development (DFID) contributes
about 15 per cent of EC aid resources, which absorb around 30
per cent of DFID's budget.
The integration of the environment into the EC's development and
economic co-operation policies is therefore extremely important
for the global environment. Improved environmental integration
is also an important element in improving the overall effectiveness
of EC aid. There is a clear legal basis for such an emphasis as
Articles 177 and 174 of the Amsterdam Treaty give a clear commitment
to environmental protection and sustainability. The EC is also
party to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Framework
Convention on Climate Change and the Convention to Combat Desertification.
All these conventions contain specific requirements to help developing
countries which are parties to these conventions to meet their
The RSPB welcomes the conclusions reached on
the integration of environmental and sustainable development by
the Member States at the last meeting of the Development Council.
This called for the Commission to prepare, in consultation
with the Member States, elements of a comprehensive strategy,
including a timetable for further measures, an analysis of resources
and a set of indicators for the Development Council in November
1999. Those elements shall also include proposals on how to translate
policy into practice. The Council also highlights a number
of challenges which need to be faced in the preparation of this
The November Development Council should focus
on more detailed issues regarding the content of such a strategy.
The RSPB puts forward the following recommendations to the Committee
which we believe the UK Government should pursue at the Development
Council and subsequently at Helsinki.
Consultation with other stakeholders
The Commission has so far not made available
to other stakeholders (such as NGOs) its report on integration
presented to the May Development Council meeting. There are also
currently no proposals to consult NGOs on the content of the report
prior to its presentation to the Development Council. The RSPB,
through BirdLife International, has requested the opportunity
to input into the process.
The UK Government should consult
stakeholders in the UK on the Commission's strategy so that it
can take these views into account in its position at the Development
and Helsinki Councils.
It is unclear from the Development Council's
conclusions what status will be given to the Commission's Strategy.
This needs to be clarified. If it were to form part of the Commission's
policy it would be produced as a "communication". Under
a different discussion, the May Development Council has also called
for the Commission to prepare an overall development policy to
be adopted in 2000.
The integration strategy should set
out a timetable for the drafting of an environmental policy to
be applied to development co-operation which should be subject
to consultation and be a key element of the Commission's overall
development policy to be adopted in 2000.
A SHORTAGE OF
As a number of evaluations
have already highlighted, there is a very limited number of environmental
specialists within the Directorates General responsible for development.
This shortcoming was recognised at the last meeting of the Development
DFID also highlights this problem in its Strategy for working
with the EC.
However, Member States have limited the options for the Commission
to increase the number of staff despite the considerable increase
in the size of the budget. The current re-structuring of the development
DGs initiated by the President of the Commission presents an opportunity
to increase the size of the environmental teams. However, training
should also be provided to other technical and desk officers.
The UK Government should support
the Commission in increasing the number of staff with environmental
expertise through recruitment, re-organisation and reform of the
development DGs and training. This expertise will be needed in
the delegations as well as in Brussels.
There have been many policy statements by the
EC on the environment but these are not always put into practice.
Therefore, there is a need for regular monitoring to ensure implementation.
The reporting needs to focus not only on indicators, as called
for by the Development Council, but also on targets. While targets
and indicators which relate to procedure (such as the number of
satisfactory Environmental Impact Assessments carried out) are
useful, the EC needs to move towards using targets and indicators
which measure the end result (such as CO2 emissions, rates of
deforestation, etc). There are a number of international initiatives
which could be used to develop such indicators.
The integration strategy should contain
a commitment to annual reporting on implementation of the strategy,
including indicators and targets (covering number of staff with
environmental expertise, the proportion of resources allocated
to environmental projects, application of environmental impact
procedures, and direct measures of the environment such as CO2
emissions, deforestation, water reserves, etc). This could form
part of the overall annual report on EC development assistance
which has been called for by the Development Council.
Environmental targets and indicators
need to be included in country strategies, sectoral communications
(such as the proposed Communication on Forests and Development)
as well as in the project cycle. This requirement should not be
confined to the small number of projects which have environmental
protection as their principal objective.
The EC's development co-operation not only has
a complex structure in terms of DGs; it is also split amongst
many budget headings and different regulations (which give the
legal basis). This includes budget lines for tropical forests
and the environment in developing countries. DFID and others have
called for the structures to be simplified.
The strategy should make a commitment
to maintain the separate environmental budget lines until significant
progress can be demonstrated on mainstreaming the environment
into other development co-operation spending. Budget line amalgamation
should also be conditional on the implementation of a clear system
for tracking of environmental spending on projects, including
those with multiple objectives.
The success of development co-operation is also
dependent on policies pursued by other DGs. The Development Council
has highlighted the need for policy coherence. More details on
the EC's trade policy are given in RSPB's evidence to the Committee's
inquiry into this area.
The strategy should include joint
measures with other DGs to address the impacts of the EC's other
policies on development co-operation, particularly agriculture,
fisheries and trade.
The eleven Central and Eastern European countries
negotiating to join the EU are particularly rich in biodiversity.
However some of their most important species and places for wildlife
are increasingly threatened as EU pre-accession funds are spent
on agricultural intensification, and on transport, water management
and other potentially damaging large-scale infrastructure developments.
It is essential that biodiversity receives support
from the EU so that it is not damaged by the effects of accession.
To achieve this, nature conservation Directives, including the
Birds and Habitats Directives, must be transposed effectively
into national legislation in the accession countries, and their
Projects funded by the Instrument
for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession (ISPA) Regulation should
be subject to rigorous environmental impact assessment.
Projects supported by Special Action
for Pre-Accession measures for Agriculture and Rural Development
(SAPARD) should stimulate rural economies, create jobs and safeguard
the environment, helping to maintain the numbers of people working
and living in rural areas.
A significant percentage of SAPARD
funds should be allocated to agricultural activities that protect
or enhance the environment.
The proportion of funding for biodiversity
projects and projects to build the capacity of NGOs in accession
countries should be increased significantly under PHARE. PHARE
is the major EU institution-building and investment fund.
Extra Community funds should be allocated
to collect, analyse and document data with respect to potential
candidate Natura 2000 sites under the Birds and Habitats Directives.
Climate change will have profound, often adverse,
effects on biodiversity and on nature conservation policy. Many
impacts of climate change on wildlife are already clearly visible
both in Europe and worldwide. European plants now come into leaf
10 days earlier, on average, than they did 30 years ago. Birds
are breeding earlier. Many species are extending their ranges
northwards, where they can. Those on the edges of land masses
or on islands may have nowhere to go.
Global action to minimise climate change is
essentialwe cannot avoid it but we can still limit it.
The commitments in the Kyoto Protocol will have a negligible effect.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global
cuts in emissions of at least 60 per cent will be needed to avoid
significant change. If it is to have any effect on the climate,
and if it is to maintain its world lead on this issue, the EU
must aim to exceed its 8 per cent (by 2010) Kyoto target by a
considerable margin. Also, it must aim to reduce emissions at
home. It should not try to offset its emissions abroad and should
oppose other states that attempt to do so.
The development and implementation of climate-related
policies and measures across the EU has, at best, been patchy.
Some states, such as Denmark, have taken a lead in implementing
effective measures. Others have done little or nothing. As a whole,
the EU has not done very much.
As an absolute minimum the UK Government should
press for the strategy to contain the following:
A timetable for implementing energy
saving measures in all sectors. Zero cost or net benefit options
for between 10 per cent and 20 per cent emission reductions exist
in almost all states.
A timetable to reduce and eventually
abolish all subsidies on fossil fuels.
Measures to deploy increased renewable
electricity generation capacity. EU policy to have at least 12.5per
cent of renewable electricity generation by 2010 should be implemented.
For thermal renewable systems, such as biomass, generation capacity
based on combined heat and power should be strongly encouraged.
Fossil fuel generation should be in the form of combined cycle
An EU wide energy tax should be developed
The EU should insist on capping the
ability to trade emissions under the Kyoto Protocol at 50 per
cent of the total required reduction and should make every effort
to exceed its own 8 per cent emission reduction target.
The EU should push hard for an international
commitment to greater cuts in the near future.
The Cardiff Summit in June 1998 concluded that
transport should be a priority sector for environmental integration.
Adopted in 1992, the 5th EC Environmental Action Programme (1992-99)
included as one of its key recommendations to pursue "a strategy
aimed at reducing (or at least containing) the overall impact
of transport on the environment".
The EU Transport Council's brief report to the
Vienna Summit (December 1998) on the integration of environmental
and sustainability considerations into Community transport policy
fell far short of the "strategy" which the Cardiff Summit
envisaged. The report concluded that a coherent strategy for action
in the short, medium and long term is needed. It also stressed
that environmental considerations should be integrated "from
the outset" into the enlargement process; and that the ongoing
environmental assessment of the TEN-T must ensure a better integration
of infrastructure planning and environmental concerns.
The transport sector contributes to a wide range
of environmental problems because of its ubiquitous nature, steady
growth and large share of fossil fuel consumption. The main impacts
of transport on the human and natural environment are on the climate,
air quality, noise levels, land take, and nature and biodiversity.
The latter are now widely recognised. For example,
a recent report from the European Environment Agency
highlights loss of biodiversity and open areas in an increasingly
fragmented landscape. This is an area where environmental progress
is not being made in the EU, and clearly the development of large
scale infrastructure is a critical element in this deficiency.
Indicators are a central element of the integration
process. The European Environment Agency and Eurostat are currently
developing a Transport Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM).
The first report is expected at the end of 1999.
The UK Government should press for the strategy
to include the following recommendations:
Environmental concerns should be
brought to the centre of Common Transport Policy (CTP) and Trans-European
Transport Network (TEN-T) policyincluding the review of
the 1996 TEN-T Guidelinesrather than being viewed or treated
as an "add-on", as has historically been the case.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment
(SEA) of the TEN-T as a whole should be completed as soon as possible.
The Commission should also carry out an SEA of the planned extension
of this Network into the accession countries (ie the TINA) before
works actually begin.
For the purposes of sustainable development,
there is a need for a broad set of indicators which take into
account transport intensity, land use patterns, severance effects,
etc, as well as more conventional indices of either transport
volumes or environmental impacts.
It is essential that TEN-T and TINA
developments be compatible with existing EU environmental legislation,
notably the requirements of the Birds and Habitats Directives
and the setting up of the Natura 2000 network.
The integration strategy for the
transport sector should cover the main EU sources of transport
funding: the European Investment Bank, the Structural Funds, the
Cohesion Fund and the Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession
Measures should be implemented to
cut emissions from transport, by discouraging the use of cars
and trucks and encouraging the greater use of public transport,
especially trains. In particular, air transport, the fastest growing
emissions sector, should be subject to a fuel tax. (International
aviation and marine "bunker" fuels are currently tax-exempt.)
As a first step towards imposing a levy, the EU must resolve the
bunker fuel emission allocation issue in the Climate Change Convention
process, NOT in ICAO or the IMO.
The RSPB advocates fisheries management which
maintains the balance between fishing effort and living marine
resources, thus ensuring the long-term sustainability of fish
stocks and a more stable marine ecosystem.
There is growing recognition that the integration
of environmental objectives in the management of EU fisheries
is long overdue. The Ministerial commitments made in 1997 in Bergen
on this integrative process for the North Sea challenge the institutional
structures and strategic arrangements to address this issue.
We therefore strongly welcome the Cologne European
Council's call upon the Fisheries Council to report back to it
in 2000 on the integration of environmental issues and sustainable
development in the fisheries policy sector. We consider that,
in this context, "to report back" should require all
the elements required of other policy sectors invoked for integration
by the Cardiff summit, namely to establish for Fisheries: strategies
for integration; guidelines and a timetable for
fulfilling strategies; and indicators for monitoring progress.
DGXIV has to produce an Action Plan
for the fisheries sector by February 2000 as its contribution
to the development of the EC Biodiversity Strategy (ECBS). We
consider that the Action Plan should require the same elaboration
of strategies, timetables, indicators, and monitoring demanded
(above) under the call for integration. In addition to the objectives
specified by the ECBS for fisheries, we also call on the plan
to prioritise the application of the Precautionary Approach, and
the development of an Ecosystem Approach to fisheries management,
not just in Community waters but also in third country waters
(especially those of developing countries) to which EU vessels
have access via fisheries agreements.
As specified in the ECBS, "the
Common Fisheries Policy has not yet achieved the objective of
sustainable fishing". This conclusion implies two unaddressed
In Art 2 of the Council Reg 3760/92
setting down the provisions of the CFP there is no clear prioritisation
of objectives but, judging from the outcomes of the CFP, the sustainability
of the fishing industry emerges as the de facto priority,
while concern for marine ecosystems has been subsidiary. Integration
in the fisheries sector needs to establish, through the revised
CFP, a regime which more fundamentally delivers environmental
In the context of the CFP review and
the related Agenda 2000 negotiations, the "Detailed Rules
and Arrangements Regarding Community Structural Assistance in
the Fisheries Sector", which have yet to be adopted, have
a key role to play in furthering the integration process. In our
view, the detailed regulations still fail to make explicit the
commitment to a strategic shift towards sustainable development.
Environmental integration in the
fisheries sector with a strategic move towards sustainable development
The Commission recently produced
(July 1999) a Communication on Fisheries Management and Nature
Conservation in the marine environment (a joint DGXI-DGXIV strategy
paper). This identifies some priorities and implementing measures
that should benefit from increased co-ordination and coherence
between the two (fisheries/environment) policy areas, and that
will be complementary to the conservation of fish stocks and other
marine biodiversity. It is important for governments of member
states to appreciate, however, that this Communication addresses
only part of what is required by the integration process. While
the Communication will assist the integration of environmental
objectives into the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the Commission
also needsif it is to fully take on board the aspiration
of achieving sustainable development in all aspects of the CFPto
have kindred strategies on (notably) markets, structural funds
and external policy.
Fisheries as a sector for integration
should be included in the forthcoming Sixth Environmental Action
4 DFID (1998) Working Parnership with the European
Commiunity , Institutional Strategy Paper. Back
Press Release Nr 8435/99 of the European Community Development
Council meeting in May 1999. Back
OECD (1996) Development Co-operation Review Series-European Community.
Also in Environmental Resources Management (1996) Evaluation of
the Environmental Performance of EC Programmes in Developing Countries
(B7-5091/95), London. Back
Press Release Nr 8435/99. The Council considers that one important
constraint on the Commission is the shortage of suitably qualified
staff members, in particular in cross-cutting areas such as gender
issues on environmental questions. Under item II(3) of Evaluation
of EC Development Instruments and Programmes-Conclusions. Back
DFID (1998) Objective 2.4. Back
EEA (1996) Environment in the European Union at the Turn of the