A study commissioned by the WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme and presented today at a conference in Jurmala, Latvia, shows that while Agri-Environment Measures in the Baltic Sea region already produce some positive results, much more could be gained by clearer targets, more cooperation between countries in the region, and improved follow-up and evaluation.
The WWF study covers the Rural Development Plans (RDPs) of the 8 EU Member States in the Baltic Sea region and notes that countries seldom use agri-environment measures in a targeted way to achieve agreed objectives.
Also, there are no signs of cooperation between countries in setting targets, devising schemes, or evaluating effects on issues such as water quality, nutrient runoff and eutrophication, one of the most acute threats to the Baltic Sea. One conclusion is that even if the support clearly has positive effects, it clearly could be much more efficient.
The study also refers to assessments made by the OECD and the European Court of Auditors that show similar results.
– All these nations bordering to the Baltic Sea have a common interest in saving it. They should cooperate better on the issue, pooling resources, having the same objectives and be transparent toward NGOs and the civil society at large, says Lennart Gladh, Baltic Specialist at WWF.
Baltic Sea Member States and the EU have together allocated around € 8 billion to Agri-Environment Measures for the period of 2007-2013. The measure covers hundreds of environmental schemes, all unique to the country where they are in use.
– Today the system of Agri-Environment Measures is a maze, a thicket of countless sub-measures all over the place, says Lennart Gladh. There is no possibility to get an overview of what is being done and what the results are.
The WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme is an active agent of change in the conservation and sustainable management of the Baltic Sea. It is comprised of WWF and NGO partners in each of the nine coastal Baltic Sea countries.