Integrating agrobiodiversity conservation with environmental and agricultural strategies

Mainstreaming agrobiodiversity into agriculture and environment planning

The objective is for government sectors to collaborate to produce a landscape matrix that incorporates economic and internationally competitive farming while providing the food, landscape, social, and environmental features required by society. As part of such a matrix, restoring natural habitats on agricultural land could have marked benefits for the public's perception of the countryside, for biodiversity as well as providing functions, such as tourism and flood defence.


The 4th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Bratislava, 1998, decision IV/6) recognized that there is a need for a greater commitment and urgency to mainstream and prioritize activities for the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biological diversity in the wide range of existing environmental and agricultural strategies, programmes and action plans for rural development. Many relevant instruments and tools exist which could be more effectively and widely applied to promote the conservation and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity. Also there is a growing need to clearly understand the relationship between agri-environmental measures and factors that enhance or constrain their effects on farms and their implementation by farmers.

The 4th Pan-European Conference of Environment Ministers, Environment for Europe (Ã…rhus 1998) was considered a further step ahead in the integration of Central and Eastern Europe with Western Europe in the sphere of the environment. The importance of the impact of agriculture on biodiversity was also highlighted in the Pan-European Biodiversity and Landscape Strategy: "In particular, we note that land use has a strong impact on biological and landscape diversity and that there are currently wide opportunities for progress as well as potential risks in this area. To take advantage of opportunities and to avoid negative impacts, we will take initiatives to integrate biodiversity considerations into the agricultural sector within EU enlargement and in transition processes".

In response to the requirements of the implementation of Article 6 of the EU Amsterdam Treaty concerning the integration of environmental protection and sustainable development in all Community policies and activities, the European Commission produced a Communication to the European Council Partnership for Integration: a strategy for Integrating Environment into EU Policies (Cardiff, 1998). This Communication pointed out that "integration of environmental considerations into other policies is no longer an option but an obligation". Agriculture was seen as a key area. In 1999, a number of strategies of the Council for the integration of environment in sectors were adopted at the Helsinki Summit. The paper stresses amongst other things the multifunctional role of agriculture; the European model of agriculture Agenda 2000; consumer concerns; sustainable agriculture in the framework of EU-enlargement; non-trade concerns in the WTO-round; development of indicators; and coherence between agricultural and environmental policy.


One of the most important objectives for the European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform stated in Agenda 2000 is consistent with the integration of environmental objectives in the CAP and with the empowerment of the role of farmers in the management and conservation of natural resources and landscapes.

Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 15: Life on Land