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Current progress in our work related to CAP

One strand of work in MAGIC focuses on identifying and exploring current 'narratives' that are connected with the Common Agricultural Policy. This work is led by the James Hutton Institute, who also coordinate all the research on different policy areas (visit http://magic-nexus.eu/project-phases for an overview of all the 'workpackages' that comprise this project).

In 2017-18 we explore the nexus consequences of separate stories that relate to each policy area (e.g. CAP, Natura 2000 Directives, Energy Directives, Water Framework Directive, Circular Economy Strategy) and then in later years of the project (2018-20) we will explore the interactions between these policy issues. To ensure that the process is productive and meaningful, the active participation by non-academics is needed, to help identify issues and debates where MuSIASEM’s outputs may be particularly useful.  Since MAGIC aims to stimulate reflection on EU policies, it is particularly valuable for us to receive input from those working on EU policy development and implementation.

Over the summer of 2017, we identified over 60 stories or ‘narratives’ relating to the CAP, by analysing (i) policy documents, (ii) interviews with those connected with policy development and implementation, and (iii) feedback from a small cross-policy focus group. These narratives varied in their specificity, relevance to the nexus, and tractability for analysis using MuSIASEM.  We therefore reduced this list down to a ‘short list’ of five narratives that we think are relevant to informing how we manage the nexus as part of CAP, and are also amenable to analysis in MAGIC. 

From now until early September 2017 we are consulting with policy stakeholders to receive feedback on this 'short list' of 5 narratives, in order to focus our initial application of MuSIASEM.  A summary of these narratives is given below. If you would like to know more about this part of MAGIC, or give feedback on the narratives and our plans to analyse them, please contact Kirsty Blackstock (kirsty.blackstock@hutton.ac.uk). 

  • Narrative A – Reframing CAP. “The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a long-established policy that has undergone several re-framings. In the beginning it was very successful in reversing the food insecurity that affected post-war Europe; more recently CAP has also acquired many other objectives. These other objectives include food security, farm income viability, sustaining rural communities and landscapes, satisfying consumer expectations, supporting healthy diets and nutrition, delivery of public goods from land, mitigating climate change, and having a competitive agri-food sector.”
  • Narrative B – Competitiveness. “CAP aims to ensure European agricultural competitiveness in the world market and also aims to deliver public goods such as biodiversity conservation, water quality and climate change mitigation.  These aims are in opposition.”
  • Narrative C – Redistribution. “CAP includes a goal for redistribution that favours small farmers (in terms of land-holding size, and in terms of business-size). CAP also includes goals for efficiency and income equality.  The goals for redistribution are in tension with the goals for efficiency.” 
  • Narrative D – Food Policy. “CAP should be replaced by a food policy that considers both production and consumption of food in order to deliver public benefits in terms of good value and healthy food.”
  • Narrative E – Externalization.  “To achieve EU sustainability goals, the environmental impacts of achieving EU food security will need to be externalized. For example, we protect some potential livestock pasture within Europe, and we import livestock from South America. Protection and conservation of landscapes within Europe thus happens at the expense of degradation in other regions of the world.”