Set in Brussels with the participation of Commissioners Phil Hogan, Miguel Arias Cañete and Neven Mimica, the contribution of the forest sector in combating climate change and to innovation, jobs and growth will be discussed.
This morning, in his keynote speech, Commissioner Hogan announced the idea of a “1 hectare initiative”, which would be supported through the common agricultural policy (CAP). Under their future CAP Strategic Plans, Member States will have the option to reward farmers with payments per farm for the afforestation of one hectare. This afforestation should be done in a biodiversity-friendly way, contributing to climate and environmental objectives.
This initiative can be programmed through Rural Development funding and could help Member States to meet their climate and biodiversity objectives. It would be another practical example of farmers providing public goods with public support. In order to limit the administrative burden for beneficiaries and public authorities a lump-sum payment per year and per hectare could be offered to each participating farmer over the next budget period.
Such an initiative could significantly contribute to the creation of valuable ecosystem services, such as water retention and flood and soil erosion control. It would also provide significant biodiversity benefits, such as shelter and connectivity.
Commissioner Hogan encouraged Member States to take up this initiative as it would contribute to the achievement of environmental targets and help safeguard our public goods, including forests. He said
the future CAP provides the opportunity, but the political will to implement this initiative must come from the Member States. Hence, I hope you will spread the word.