On 25th and 26th October 2019, representatives of conservation NGOs, the farming community and public agencies from Iceland, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Romania, Slovenia, Austria, Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland met at the yearly Burren Winterage Weekend for a seminar on high-nature value farming and results-based payment schemes.
Participants discussed common challenges to the viability of traditional agricultural uses in peripheral regions of high natural value (HNV), exchanged ideas and experience on how to best design agricultural funding programs that empower and support farmers willing to engage in land conservation. It became clear that community engagement, peer recognition, administrative flexibility and a focus on results instead of measures are key ingredients of successful programs. The seminar was a prime example for the value of peer-learning: After a series of presentations from various European countries, practitioners compared their payment scorecards used to assess the delivery of conservation results and engaged in discussions with farmers who participate in such programmes. It became clear that both the HNV and the RBP community benefit tremendously from international networking. A newly founded EU-wide network on results-based agricultural payment schemes will therefore connect pioneer approaches such as the one developed in the Burren and support their replication elsewhere. Leading representatives of this informal network agreed with the ELCN to seek closer cooperation in the future. For question, please contact the coordinator of the ELCN, Tilmann Disselhoff.
Photo credit cover picture: Martin Kiely