Constraints and opportunities for mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU's Common Agricultural Policy: Insights from the IPBES assessment for Europe and Central Asia

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The European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), being one of the strongest drivers of agricultural land-use practices, has a substantial impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Member States. The initial focus of the CAP to increase and intensify agricultural production affected water and land qualities and contributed to the degradation of traditional agricultural landscapes, cultural identities, and erosion of typical farmland biodiversity. Recent CAP reforms have begun to consider biodiversity and ecosystem services, but still fall short of a thorough mainstreaming approach. The objectives of this paper are to point out main findings regarding (i) key shortcomings of the current CAP, and (ii) major opportunities to enhance the mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecosystem services within the CAP. The paper is based on insights generated in the sub-global assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) for Europe and Central Asia1. Our results illustrate the evolution of agricultural policy objectives and instruments applied in the CAP, and their effects on selected ecosystem services and biodiversity. We shed light on key shortcomings of existing policy and provide recommendations for further CAP reforms to achieve more effective biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem services.


Original languageEnglish
Article number104099
JournalLand use policy
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0001-5620-1379/work/142236412
ORCID /0000-0002-2688-8947/work/142244308


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

Sustainable Development Goals


  • Biodiversity, Common Agricultural Policy, Ecosystem services, Literature review, Policy recommendations, Biodiversity, Ecosystem services, Common Agricultural Policy, Policy recommendations, Literature review