Archive for December 2017

Successful road-testing of the PEGASUS emerging findings in November!

By amarechal.

The PEGASUS project organised a series of 3 regional workshops in different countries of the EU during the month of November 2017: in The Hague (Netherlands) on 16 November, Lisbon (Portugal) on 24 November, and Vienna (Austria) on 30 November. These events explored what the findings emerging from the project meant for future policy and for stakeholders on the ground. The intention is that these discussions feed into the debate on how national and EU policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy, might evolve after 2020. The third regional workshop was particularly timely in this context as it took place the day after the Communication on the “Future of Food & Farming” was released by the European Commission.

The three events aimed to share and discuss the emerging findings and outputs from the PEGASUS project. More specifically, the objectives of these seminars were to:

  • Share the findings of the project from the 34 case studies carried out in 10 Member States and present new EU maps showing the linkages between agriculture and forest management systems and the delivery of public goods and ecosystem services;
  • Present the lessons and recommendations for policy and practice;
  • Receive feedback from national policy makers and stakeholders from different countries.

Each workshop took a different angle to the PEGASUS findings, to be of most relevance to the EU meta-region in which these were discussed. 

In the Hague, the event focused on market-based mechanisms to deliver environmental and social benefits from agriculture and forestry. An innovative aspect of this event has been the presentation of key lessons from the recent implementation of the Dutch collective approach to agri-environmental and climate measures (AECM). The Dutch approach is rather progressive and several ideas were put forward to push the CAP in a more targeted and result-based direction.

In Lisbon, the spotlight was on the potential of collective action to help deliver environmental and social outcomes. The discussions there were more related to the need to simplify the current CAP and Rural Development measures supporting small farmers and producers’ organisations in particular.In Lisbon, the spotlight was on the potential of collective action to help deliver environmental and social outcomes. Examples of collective actions in different European countries, which lead to successful implementation of practices supporting environmental and social benefits, were discussed and lessons learned identified. The discussions were more related to the need to simplify the current CAP and Rural Development measures, so that the room is created for different mechanisms to support farmers’ collaborations and producers’ organisations in particular. 


Finally, in Vienna the seminar was centred on remote areas including mountain areas which have been an important topic in a number of the PEGASUS case studies (e.g. in Austria, Slovenia, Estonia, France, the UK, etc.). The presentations and the panel discussed measures supporting mountain ecosystem services. The discussions highlighted how mountain and other areas with specific constraints strongly depend on the value they can add to their natural resources through agriculture or forestry activities.

All the presentations of these events are available in the 'Resources' section of the website. 


The need for providing public goods in remote and marginal areas

By amarechal.

 by Thomas Dax, Federal Institute for Less-Favoured and Mountainous Areas

In the final stage of the PEGASUS project, three workshops aimed at testing our emerging findings by highlighting specific perspectives. The workshop in Vienna focused on exploring in more detail the potential for provision of environmental and social benefits through farming and forestry in remote and marginal areas, including mountains. It thus started from the conviction that “environmental and social beneficial outcomes” (or “ESBOs”), as we have termed in this project, are particularly important in mountain regions and relevant for (extensive) land management systems in these areas.

For the audience of almost 60 interested experts, administrators and stakeholders from various Western and Central European countries, the European scale of common challenges in mountains became visible in the presentation of the emerging findings of the project results and a series of case studies from selected mountain areas. The assessment of current trends of ESBO provision indicators reveals that, despite increasing acknowledgement and efforts, European regions are not on track to curve negative trends (e.g. biodiversity loss) and land management systems have not yet changed sufficiently to secure ESBO provision in the future. The PEGASUS project therefore intends to showcase the potential of positive examples, which often were found to be associated with the adoption of collective approaches, increased engagement by local and regional stakeholders and a supportive policy framework and institutional support mechanisms. A step change is needed to achieve the targeted outcomes, which in turn requires a real “cultural shift” in the way agricultural and forest land is currently managed.

The four case study examples presented at the workshop in Vienna showed useful local initiatives with both economic and ecological beneficial outcomes. The different contexts (case studies from Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic and Italy) underscored the relevance of the spatial context, but also the importance of the institutional and policy framework and historical legacies. Core topics of the discussion included the wide range of drivers which can trigger the emergence of collective initiatives, the various types of ESBOs which can be addressed by such initiatives, the need to shape and nurture public appreciation, and the combined effects of private activities and public support.

As the workshop took place one day after the publication of the European Commission’s communication on “The Future of Food and Farming”, much of the policy discussion focused on the potential changes and linkages of future CAP developments to the provision of ESBOs, in particular in mountain areas. In contrast to the communication, which hardly mentions Areas of Natural Constraints or mountain regions, the discussions highlighted the crucial need to investigate new types of approaches which can deliver ESBOs in mountain areas and the policy implications of this. The Commission’s proposal for a “new delivery model” does not yet provide sufficient detail at this stage and it is therefore unclear to what extent it will take account of the need to deliver public goods. As land use changes have an outstanding long-term effect and decisively influence on ESBOs, forest management should also be considered in its implication for ESBO provision. While agricultural and forest management usually are treated separately, the debate at the workshop made clear that a more holistic view is needed to achieve more effective public goods delivery.

The workshop thus investigated in detail how ESBOs in a mountain context could be strengthened and which policy design could be most appropriate and useful in a future CAP. On a more long-term perspective and a more active note, the project results encourage to work towards changes that support collective actions and search for combined private-public solutions. Such a development will not happen without a clear and firm commitment on acknowledging the increasing search for public goods by the public and appreciation of the long-term needs of ESBOs. Future policies will need more and better trained facilitators and to evolve towards more cooperative approaches, creative initiatives and strategic assessment of diverse land management options. Such a policy focus might be even more relevant in mountain areas than elsewhere.


In the coming weeks, the PEGASUS team will continue to develop these ideas to draft more operational recommendations addressed to policy-makers and practitioners. 



December 2017


PEGASUS Final Conference - Delivering environmental and social benefits from agriculture and forestry in a changing policy context

By amarechal.

It is clear that current policy frameworks and their implementation have not been sufficient to counter the ongoing trends of environmental degradation and achieve the changes required to ensure the long-term, sustainable provision of public goods and ecosystem services from EU agriculture and forestry. To improve this situation, changes are required in policy design, in the commitment of Member States to taking action for a more sustainable future and in the actions of the millions of land managers across the EU. These changes will be especially relevant if the CAP is to evolve towards a new delivery approach based on performance and results.

These issues have been the focus of the 3 year PEGASUS project and will be centre stage at this final conference on 7 February 2018, in Brussels. The event will take you through a summary of the results of research, including 34 case studies, on concrete ways to enhance the provision of public goods and ecosystem services by agriculture and forestry, and what this means for policy and practice. The event will provide a number of opportunities to:


  • Debate a range of  findings and approaches, including the lessons for policy and for practice and the use of maps as a tool to explore links between farming and forestry systems and the provision of environmental and social benefits;
  • Contribute to an evolving policy debate in Europe;
  • Network with key stakeholders, researchers and other interested parties.

These discussions are intended to feed into the debate on how national and EU policies and governance models could evolve post 2020, including the Common Agricultural Policy.


Registration is now closed 

The agenda is available here

For any questions, please email