European Innovation Partnership: will agro-ecology be finally applied?

Brussels

Today the European Commission published a roadmap for European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) on “Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability”, as part of the EU 2020 Strategy. While green NGOs welcome the good intention of bridging the gap between research and agriculture, they warn that the current EIP-A proposal risks being another step towards dependency on external input and as a result unable to ensure long-term food security.

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe and the European Environment Bureau (EEB) welcome the idea of reinforcing the link between research and farming practices but call on the importance of fully integrating ‘untraditional’ partners and local actors into this collaboration.

Although the green groups acknowledge in the communication positive buzzwords giving potential to the EIP, they regret that the main problem remains. Indeed, the EIP structure is built on existing EU policy tools and does not allow enough room for the establishment of new networks thinking and acting out of the box.

In fact, the Communication does include NGOs in the project partners but what will really matter is whether they will actually be invited, have the means to be part of it and gain real access to the project. “Inviting non-traditional partners such as NGOs stimulates projects involving civil society and farmers. And smaller research projects aiming at finding local holistic solutions to overcome pest problems for instance, are the only way to ensure the paradigm change that EU agriculture needs”, said Henriette Christensen, Senior Policy Officer at PAN.

Faustine Defossez, EEB’s Agriculture Policy officer said: “The EIP must be the tool used to move away from current production methods that are among the most pollutant, resource-squandering, energy-intensive and dependent on subsidies, and instead stimulate farmers to find local means to solve local problems. The time has come to start seriously stimulating agro-ecology within the European model of farming”.

Martin Scheele from the European Commission will reveal the details of its new Communication during a conference hosted by the EEB on March 2nd in Copenhagen [1].

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Notes for journalists

(1) Background information on the agricultural EIP

(2) Background information on the proven benefits of delivering sustainable agricultural practices

(3) “The Truth behind the CAP: 13 reasons for greening the CAP” published in June 2011

More info on the conference

Further information

For further information please contact:

Henriette Christensen, Senior policy adviser, Pesticide Action Network Europe, henriette@paneurope. info, + 32 2 503 08 37

Faustine Defossez, Agriculture Policy officer, EEB, faustine.defossez [at] eeb.org, +32 2 790 88 14

© PAN Europe, Rue de la Pacification 67, 1000, Brussels, Belgium, Tel. +32 2 318 62 55

PAN Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, Life+ programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.