The views and opinions expressed on this page are those of the statement authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and of all its scientists.

    Scientists call for action for the EU Common Agricultural Policy to address sustainability challenges

    Read and join statement. Short summary:

    Making agriculture sustainable is a global challenge. In the European Union (EU), the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is failing with respect to biodiversity, climate, soil, land degradation as well as socio-economic challenges especially in rural areas. The European Commission’s proposal for a CAP post-2020 allows Member States to choose low-ambition implementation. With a new Parliament and Commission in place, the reform process has now restarted. It is therefore time to act on urgent challenges and address citizens’ demands for sustainable agriculture, using the full breadth of available scientific evidence and knowledge. Concerned about attempts to dilute the environmental ambition of the future CAP, we call on the European Parliament, the EU’s Member States and the European Commission to adopt ten urgent action points for delivering sustainable food production, biodiversity conservation, and climate mitigation towards an evidence-based, future-proof European agriculture.

    If you are a scientist and you share our concerns about agricultural sustainability and the role of the CAP, then join us as a signatory to support our call for an evidence-based, future-proof CAP.

    If you are not a scientist, please spread the word.

    Read the full statement

    Submitted for publication in People and Nature.


    Over 1500 scientists have already signed the statement, covering most 28 EU Member States and over 30 other countries. By now we are only missing Luxembourg. Join us in developing national derivatives!

    Read the full paper in...

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    Further reading

    What is wrong with the CAP?
    Read the 260-page Fitness Check, indicating both environmental and socioeconomic weaknesses.

    What makes the Commission proposal for the CAP post-2020 weak?
    Read Pe’er et al. 2019, science (open access links); download the 65-page supplementary materials (PDF)

    Why are we concerned about further watering down?
    Read COMAGRI’s vote of 2 April 2019 for proposed amendments here, and the initial proposal made by the Member States’ Council here, to judge by yourself.

    See an expression of concern by 15 NGOs on the watering down of Conditionality here.

    See Open Letter by professional societies of ornithologists, mammalogists, herpetologists and butterfly experts here.

    Read the Statement by the Rural Coalition of farmers, comprising CEJA, CEPF, CIC, Copa and Cogeca, ELO, FACE and UECBV regarding the CAP-proposal here.

    Evidence-based recommendations made by scientists and other stakeholders in Ireland (see CAP4Nature here).


    Frequently asked questions

    Q: Who is a scientist?
    A: If you have either completed a doctorate/PhD and particularly if you have been engaged in research/science, you may see yourself as a scientist. Note that if you are a student, or working in other fields, you will be asked to provide a DOI or another reference of a scientific publication as evidence.

    Q: Can people out of the EU sign the position paper?
    A: We did not specifically invite, but we also do not say "no" to such signatories, since the CAP does have global impacts. Moreover, people out of the EU may be doing research on relevant topics and may have the capacity to judge. After all, the main issue is a call for policy makers to make effective use of science and knowledge, noting that other countries do follow the path paved be the EU. Accordingly, the option of "other" does allow listing any country around the world. 

    Q: Are you not extending beyond your role as scientists?
    A: Position papers are a well-established means of communication, used by a range of societal groups - including scientists - to make informed, evidence-based messages when a policy-relevant topic requires attention. The science behind our call is robust (and yet ignored), and our call avoids policy-prescriptive formulations to the extent possible. Notably, we are not only scientists but also citizens. Accordingly, the statement is made by the individuals who author and sign it. 

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