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Modernising and simplifying the CAP – Workshops for Impact Assessment - 'Best practices addressing environmental and climate needs'

In the framework of the Impact Assessment for the Simplification and modernisation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020, a series of thematic workshops have been organized in order to gather evidence/knowledge from experts. The workshop on agricultural “Best practices addressing environmental and climate needs”, which took place in Brussels in March 23 & 24 2017, aims to identify which are the best practices available to address the main environmental challenges observed. These challenges relate to climate change (including greenhouse gas emissions and loss of soil organic matter), the unsustainable management of natural resources (soil, air, water, farm biodiversity) and loss of nature and landscapes. The Workshop presentations can be subdivided in three groups. First, for the identification of environmental needs, some tools available at EU level were presented (calculators, modelling tools, etc), and the experiences of three countries/regions: Austria, Emilia Romagna (Italy) and the Netherlands. Second, several practices, considered viable and proven successful in different case studies were presented: nutrient management plans, manure management techniques, beef genomics, soil organic carbon management, integrated pest management in combination with a mutual fund, measures to enhance farm biodiversity, agro-forestry, precision farming. Third, the potential contribution of new technologies and of behavioural advice to the implementation, simplification, control and uptake of the best practices was presented and discussed. The discussion included different aspects in relation with the best practices characteristics, the programmes design, including flexibility and compulsory versus voluntary nature, the ways to increase farmer’s participation, the need for data availability and for harmonization of evaluation methods and the potential of new technologies for farmers and Administrations.