A clear focus is needed on the full set of objectives for each rural region - agricultural, environmental and social - with policies as far as possible aiming to address their objectives in a direct and measurable way. Once a full set of objectives has been agreed for a rural region, it will be possible to assess more accurately the effects of each rural policy against these objectives, identifying possible areas of synergy, conflict or Â£entrenchment'. These are areas where a policy aimed at one objective may not directly oppose another objective, but more subtly reduce the uptake or effectiveness of other policies (as when agricultural support does not damage the environment directly but instead deters farmers from entering environmental schemes because they would lose too much subsidy income).
The European Forum for Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP) brings together ecologists, nature conservationists, farmers and policy makers, and exists to increase understanding of the high nature conservation and cultural value of certain farming systems and to promote their maintenance.
There is a shift in favour of the integration of nature conservation into holistic rural strategies. The shift is firmly enshrined in international law through the [Ramsar Convention], [Bern Convention] and [Rio Convention]. Within the EU, these are reflected in the [Bird Directive] and [Habitat Directive]. The Common Agricultural Policy reforms have made quite explicit the desire to develop environmental management as an objective of agriculture policy. But to be successful, this must be guided by a vision of the future rural countryside.