Biodiversity in agriculture to be scrutinised in new audit

biodiversity in agriculture
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The European Court of Auditors has announced it will conduct an audit into the effect of the agricultural sector on biodiversity in the EU.

The auditors will examine the EU’s current strategy on biodiversity in agriculture, first adopted in 2011, with particular reference to its deployment in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); as well as the ways in which agricultural funding provided by the EU is distributed, monitored and its impact evaluated. Biodiversity in the EU is experiencing a marked decline, in part as a result of agricultural expansion and modernised farming practices across the bloc; the European Commission has set aside €85 billion for the 2014-2020 financial period to support biodiversity, with the majority of support for biodiversity in the farming sector distributed under the CAP.

In anticipation of the International Day for Biological Diversity tomorrow, 22 May, the Court of Auditors has released a preview of its audit into the EU’s support for biodiversity in agriculture. Auditors will visit Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Romania to collect and assess data, focusing on the following issues:

  • Determining whether the legal framework of the Common Agricultural Policy and the design of the EU’s biodiversity strategy for the period spanning 2014 to 2020 are fit for purpose;
  • Evaluating the effect of policies implemented by both the European Commission and national authorities on biodiversity in agriculture; and
  • Assessing the reliability and pertinence of the data used by the Commission when designing agricultural policy.

Janusz Wojciechowski, the member of the Court of Auditors responsible for the audit, said: “One million species worldwide are at risk of extinction, a recent international report warns. In the EU, agriculture is the largest contributor to biodiversity loss. Our audit will determine how helpful EU contribution has been to correct and even reverse this situation.”

The full audit report is due to be published by the middle of 2020.

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