News Release

Research lessons to inform future CAP reform

The Horizon 2020 project BESTMAP ends its duration with a policy-oriented event in Brussels this February

Meeting Announcement

Pensoft Publishers

Official Banner for the Research Lessons to Inform Future CAP Reform


Official banner for the "Research Lessons to Inform Future CAP Reform" event.

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Credit: Pensoft Publishers

On February 7, 2024, BESTMAP marked the end of the four-year project with a significant Final Dissemination Event in Brussels, Belgium. Titled "Research Lessons to Inform Future CAP Reform," the event was coordinated by project partners - RISE Foundation in collaboration with BESTMAP's sister projects within the AGRIMODELS cluster, all under the Forum for the Future of Agriculture initiative.

The event addressed concerns about the ongoing decline of biodiversity in Europe and the unmet environmental goals despite annual spending of €12.1 billion on environmentally oriented measures within the CAP. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) plays a crucial role in aiming to transition to and maintain sustainable practices while addressing biodiversity loss and the challenges of climate change.

The event drew a diverse audience, including key stakeholders, representatives from different EU organisations and institutions, as well as other interested parties. The overarching goal of the event was to formulate recommendations based on the comprehensive research conducted throughout the project, ultimately influencing the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Tassos Haniotis, an advisor for sustainable productivity at the Forum for the Future of Agriculture and a senior guest research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis welcomed the attendees with a speech focusing on the pivotal role of analytical tools in the CAP policy debate.

Tomáš Václavík from Palacký University Olomouc then presented on BESTMAP's four-year journey, providing detailed insights into the processes involved in crafting case studies across Humber, Mulde, South Moravia, Catalonia, and Bačka. James Bullock, from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, followed with a discussion on BESTMAP's transition from regional case studies to European policy-making. Bullock outlined the steps, showcased possible new case study areas, addressed faced challenges, and proposed an agile adaptive policy cycle.

John Helming, the spokesperson for the MIND STEP project within the AGRIMODELS cluster, highlighted the Mind Step Model Toolbox and introduced their policy recommendations. Lisa Baldi, representing the AGRICORE project, also part of the AGRIMODELS cluster, outlined the project’s approaches and highlighted the final steps toward project completion.

The event's interactive nature allowed stakeholders, policymakers, and representatives to engage with each speaker through Q&A sessions. The proceedings concluded with a panel discussion led by RISE and ForumforAg. The panel featured members of the Joint Research Centre at the European Commission, political analysts, scientists, DG AGRI members, and the Director of EU's Agri & Forestry-Related Policies at the European Landowners' Organization. 

During the panel discussion and dialogue, experts emphasised the need for effective integration of knowledge into policy recommendations for agricultural sustainability. Suggestions included leveraging data-driven tools, adopting bottom-up approaches, and ensuring clearer communication to farmers. The importance of involving member states at the policy level, addressing time-related issues in policy cycles, and refining agri-environmental schemes were underscored. Discussions also touched on the significance of indicators, particularly focusing on soil organic matter, and the potential for improvement in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. Furthermore, there was a call for enhanced data accessibility, respecting privacy, to facilitate bottom-up schemes and best practices sharing. The dialogue concluded with reflections on the balance between economic and environmental sustainability, urging a comprehensive debate on policies affecting farmers, such as climate laws, pesticides, and animal welfare legislation. The output from the discussion has set the stage for the upcoming Forum for the Future of Agriculture Annual Meeting in March 2024.

To learn more about the event, see the agenda and listen to the full audio reccordings from the sessions, follow BESTMAP’s web channels.


This project received funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement N817501.

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