Fitness Check of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Is the CAP fit for purpose?

Our comprehensive analysis of the CAP, spanning 260 pages, 12 topics and based on nearly 500 references, indicates that the CAP is not fit for purpose - and in its current design, it is unlikely to deliver on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

You may access our full report here:

PowerPoint presentations:

To access and download the database click here ›

Why do we need a Fitness Check of the CAP?

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) takes almost 40% of the EU’s budget, and has operated for nearly 60 years under the same official objectives. Is it still ‘fit for purpose’? The most state-of-the-art approach to evaluate this, according to the EU, is to conduct a “Fitness Check” (as already done, e.g., for the Birds and Habitats Directive).

Toward the next CAP reform that will shape the CAP beyond 2020, more than 200 organizations have called the European Commission (EC) to conduct such a Fitness Check for the CAP. While the EC conducted a public consultation ( and is currently engaged in an Impact Assessment (i.e. an evaluation of future scenarios for the CAP), it was decided not to conduct a Fitness Check of the CAP.

This project therefore attempts to fill a gap in policy evaluation, by conducting an independent, evidence-based Fitness Check. Firstly, we asked whether the CAP fulfills its own objectives. Secondly, following the EC commitment to mainstream its policies with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), we asked whether the CAP can deliver on the most relevant SDGs.


March 2020: Scientists call for action for the EU CAP to address sustainability challenges - An open statement, signed by over 3600 scientists across Europe and beyond

Guy Pe'er is a researcher at sDiv, the synthesis Centre of iDiv. He is also affiliated with Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ (Dept. Ecosystem Services and Dept. Economics). 


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