On 12 May 2021, a broad network of conservationists, scientists and farmers caring for wetlands and peatlands across the EU sent a letter to the Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, the Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski and the Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevičius to raise concerns concerning the insufficient protection of peatlands in the post-2022 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Action is urgently needed to restore degraded peatlands used for agriculture and to develop and promote sustainable land-use on rewetted peatlands.
After months of negotiations, the current draft decisions on CAP will fail to turn agriculturally used drained peatlands from a disproportionately large source of greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss into low-emission, biodiversity-rich land and potential carbon sinks – in direct contradiction with the EU Green Deal; in particular the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy, climate policies, and Farm to Fork Strategy.
Therefore, we, Wetlands International, joined the call for the following changes in the ongoing CAP trilogue negotiations:
1. “GAEC 2” of the CAP Conditionality on the protection of wetlands and peatlands must be tightened to deliver real improvements in agriculturally used peatlands over the duration of the new CAP. A new footnote should set unambiguous minimum criteria for the application of this GAEC, which must as a minimum stop the further degradation of drained peatlands and not just consolidate the unacceptable status quo.
2. Paludiculture, i.e. agriculture on wet or rewetted peatlands, must be fully and unconditionally eligible for direct payments as an ‘agricultural activity’ and ‘agricultural area’ (Article 4 of the draft CAP Strategic Plans regulation). No landowner in the EU should be economically or socially disadvantaged by maintaining or developing wet peatlands by rewetting peatlands.
We urge the Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, the Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski and the Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevičius to defend the success of the EU Green Deal in CAP trilogues, especially with an ambitious Conditionality mandatory for all Member States. This is absolutely key to ensure future policy coherence and long-term planning reliability for all parties involved.
Read the full letter here 2021.05-Letter-to-Commission-on-Peatlands_CAP_v2.pdf