From the origins of the European Economic Community (EEC), during the 1950s of last century, the Primary Sector began to be regulated through the use of the Common Agricultural Policies (CAP) trying to reconvert both spaces and agricultural production for the common progress of states members.
However, the realities and needs of the sector have been necessary for the CAP to adapt to the new circumstances in which it is appearing over the decades; and, for this reason, the European Union (EU) has focused its efforts towards improving the Primary Sector, such as the orientation of production and crops, to take care of the level of life of its members, so with the implementation of environmental measures.
From these efforts comes the CONSOLE project, focuses on promoting the delivery of Agri-Environmental Climate Public Goods (AECPGs) by agriculture and forestry through the development of improving contractual solutions (that is, the relationships between the public administration (at different scales) and the farmers).
CONSOLE (CONtract Solutions for Effective and lasting delivery of agri-environmental-climate public goods by EU agriculture and forestry
It is not an easy labour
However, it’s not an easy labour, because the provision of public goods is related to major challenges such trade -offs between environmental performance and farm profitability, the time lag between action and impact, and the potential mismatch between scales of actions and effects.
The provision of a public good refers to the good that individuals enjoy without paying for them, for that reason the public good has two key characteristics: it is nonexcludable and non-rivalrous.
The general objective of CONSOLE is to boost innovation in the lasting delivery of AECPGs by EU agriculture and forestry, by building a Community of Practice (CoP), by designing and testing effective and efficient cooperation models and by developing a contractual framework supporting implementation by multiple actors.
To achieve this General Objective, CONSOLE project has highlighted the following Specific Objectives:
- Develop an operational, contractual framework which would serve the development of improved and new contracts, accompanied by solutions tailored to local contexts to facilitate policy making, stakeholder interplay and to incentivise contract uptake;
- Distil lessons learned from past and ongoing experiences through the structured qualitative assessment of successful, innovative and effective contract solutions in the EU and in third countries for the delivery of specific or multiple AECPGs;
- Develop understanding of the acceptability and ease of implementation of innovative contract solutions through surveys involving a wide range of farmers, rural landowners and other key contract actors in 12 EU Member States;
- Understand the economic, social and environmental performance of new and innovative contract design options by in-depth empirical exploration and model simulation;
- Build a CoP with practitioners and actors involved and interested in the AECPG provision to facilitate co-constructing, testing and implementation of new solutions, as well as contributing to multiply impacts through participatory co-training;
- Making CONSOLE results, operative and easily accessible to a wide target audience of interested actors and stakeholders (farmers, farm advisors, administration, business along value chains, NGOs, etc.), hence contributing to a major transition in the way AECPGs are delivered in Europe.
The CONSOLE project is driven by the Associate Professor Davide Viaggi from the Department of Agricultural and Food Science of ALMA MATER STUDIORUM – Università Bologna (Italy)