The expected environmental challenges of the 2014-2020 Rural Development programming period By Anna Barnett, DG Environment, European Commission at the European Environment Bureau's working group on agriculture, Dublin, 9 April 2013 outline 1. Environmental challenges from present and past programming periods 2. Challenges specific to new programming period 3. How best to address these challenges? (will want your input too please, so do prepare some thoughts…) 1. Environmental challenges from past and present programming periods: a) programme design Insufficient prioritisation by MS/regions on environment Insufficient environmental knowledge in some MS/regions, or failure to use existing knowledge Insufficient funding for environment 1. Environmental challenges from past and present programming periods: b) Programme negotiation Incomplete use of the Strategic Environmental Assessment as a tool Programmes arriving late with pressure to approve too hastily The challenge of language Varying degrees of environmental awareness in teams working on programme approval 1. Environmental challenges from past and present programming periods: c) Programme uptake Farmers given insufficient time or information to apply Payment levels set too low Administration not actively encouraging participation Faults in measure design put farmers off Changes in circumstance (e.g. raised cereal prices) put farmers off 2. Specific new challenges a) the Common Strategic Framework (CSF) This involves funds (ERDF, ESF, Cohesion Fund, EMFF) very different from Rural Development Differences between RD and other funds: Many RD measures involve paying for environmental services over several years i.e. not 'investments' Millions of farms - mostly very small businesses projects very small scale not practicable to approve individual projects RD programmes have to contain highly detailed measures 2.a. CSF constraints So the RDP approvals process determines the detail of the measures – unlike the other funds The content of each RDP is the key stage in the process which determines the degree of environmental integration. Whereas for the other CSF funds, wider framework is set into which individual projects then fit. These differences explain why e.g. some are arguing that all Operational Programmes (including RDPs) should be approved by May 2014! (p.m. last time RD process took 2 + years). 2.a. CSF constraints Other funds, focused on one-off investments, can change direction to reflect political debate of the day (e.g. Europe 2020). Not everyone understands that environmental part of RD is the core part of the EU's long terms integration strategy and cannot just be replaced by something else. Risk that transfers can be made between funds 2. Specific new challenges b) lack of national strategies In the present programming period, having the national strategies helped ensure that MS paid attention to environmental needs. Detailed environmental description made it hard for the MS to deny environmental needs CSF Partnership Papers are not a substitute for national strategies, as they are less tailored to RD needs, contain too many competing fund needs, and are drafted by non RD experts 2. Specific new challenges c) Worsening situation on shortage of funds European Council cut RD budget by 10% and proposes 15% reverse modulation + 10% more for some MS Possible lack of minimum 25% for Axis 2 type measures Any ‘equivalence’ in 1st pillar will use a lot of RD funds on possibly low priority measures (even when no double funding) Economic situation widely being used as reason not to prioritise environment, + MS arguing that farmers need more investment money 2. Specific new challenges d) new distractions from present focus Having more RD priorities (knowledge/innovation; competitiveness; food chain/risk management; ecosystems; resource efficiency; social) distracts from importance of environmental measures Risk and insurance related measures could be huge drain in some MS, and bring risks of moral hazard damaging to environment Risk that climate change measures, driven by minimum spend requirement, will take up a lot of funding without necessarily giving equivalent value added 2. Specific new challenges e) possible positive elements If the greening ends up giving value added, then the baseline for agri-environmentclimate measures will be higher, so same money will achieve more for the environment With NATURA and Water Framework Directives coming into force on ground, MS may focus on compliance related measures to avoid infringements. (However, certain spending on WFD could infringe Polluter Pays Principle, and be wasteful of funds). 3. How best to address these challenges? a) within the COM Seek to protect environment in legal texts Work for acceptable partnership papers Seek acceptably long timeframe for negotiating RDPs Remain open to contacts with NGOs and environmental authorities experiencing difficulties What else can we do? 3. How best to address these challenges b) By managing authorities Consult environmental authorities and NGOs in a timely way, and use their expertise to design optimal environmental measures Recognise that an ambitious baseline allows limited funding to go further Recognise that being environmentally ambitious forestalls infringements What else can managing authorities do? 3. How best to address challenges c) By NGOs/national/regional environmental authorities Work for correct application of the SEA Press for substantial and timely consultation of NGOs and environment ministries in programme design Make case for real intention by managing authorities to make measures work What else can NGOs and environmental authorities do? 3. How best to address challenges d) Your turn now…. ? ? ? Also open to questions But please don’t expect highly technical answers, and please allow enough time for people to put forward suggestions how to address challenges… Thanks for your attention!