On Friday 5 June 2020 – the World Environment Day (focusing on biodiversity) – the European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish a special report on Biodiversity on Farmland, at 9:30 a.m.
The auditors assessed whether the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) helped better conserve farmland biodiversity and how the EU was achieving its 2020 biodiversity targets. They carried out visits to Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Romania.
The report is expected to indicate that the CAP has not halted the decline in biodiversity on farmland in the EU and point to intensive farming. The auditors are expected to single out gaps in the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy and coordination with the CAP. They will make a number of recommendations to the European Commission, including on enhancing contribution from direct farm payments and better tracking of biodiversity spending.
In Europe, the number and variety of species on farmland have declined over many years. Since 1990, populations of farmland birds and grassland butterflies, which are representative of many other species and a good indicator of changes, have decreased by more than 30 %.
In 2011, the Commission agreed a strategy to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. In particular, it committed to increasing the contribution of farming and forestry to maintaining biodiversity and aimed to bring about a “measurable improvement" in the conservation status of species and habitats affected by agriculture.
The ECA’s special reports set out the results of its audits of EU policies and programmes or management topics related to specific budgetary areas. The ECA selects and designs these audit tasks to be of maximum impact by considering the risks to performance or compliance, the level of income or spending involved, forthcoming developments and political and public interest.