By Celsa Peiteado, WWF Spain
During the last few months, advocacy work and lobbying efforts on farming policies has been carried out extensively by WWF Spain in a collaborative project that aims to facilitate and promote policy changes in favour of agro-silvo-pastoral systems and their related practices. Pending the adoption of the final version of the regulations and budget for the EU Common Agricultural Policy beyond 2020, proposals have been presented to the Agricultural Council and the European Parliament to improve the environmental ambition of the new regulations and to support High Nature Value Systems and the cultural practices that generate them. At the European level, the presentation of two new strategies within the framework of the new European Green Deal has also been closely followed by our partners: Farm to Fork Strategy and EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. At the end of May, the documents proposed by the European Commission included a large part of the suggestions made by our partners to achieve sustainable and resilient food systems. Among others, this includes reducing the use of fertilizers, pesticides and antimicrobials in livestock, and promoting organic farming and high biodiversity farming landscapes.
Photo credit: Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza
At the state level, we have been involved in developing the future CAP Strategic Plan, sending proposals and comments to the ministries of agriculture and environment in Spain. The work has paid off for now, the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture issued a proposal to support extensive livestock farming with a specific eco-scheme at the national level on extensive grazing, as well as other important cultural practices for the environment, such as crop rotation or green cover in permanent crops.
Currently, we are working with the European Commission to limit the use of pesticides and to develop a long-term vision for rural areas. We will continue pushing for agricultural policies in support of healthy and sustainable agriculture and livestock, and the people that provide us with quality food while caring for the environment.
Workshop Discussions and Research Findings to Culminate in a Shared Resource on Increased Sustainability of Cultural Practices, Biodiversity and Livelihoods in Cultural andscapes
At a workshop held in March 2020, project partners explore economic practices and options that can sustain or improve the viability of cultural practices that support cultural landscapes across the Mediterranean.
“The Roots of Overgrazing in Morocco: a pastoralist’s perspective” is based on the findings of a study that delved into customary laws and traditions, land use changes, wider socio-political and economic changes and pressures, and suggests some key solutions from a pastoralist perspective.
“An economic analysis of transhumance in the Central Spanish Pyrenees” empirically evaluates mobile pastoralists’ claims that transhumance, a specific type of long-distance herd mobility, is a more profitable system compared to semi-extensive production in the Central Spanish Pyrenees.
Engaged mayors and locals reveal a wealth of information on communal governance systems in Hima Anjar and Hima Kfar Zabad, in the Shouf Reserve in Lebanon, providing crucial input to identifying best methods and practices to encourage community engagement and public participation in biodiversity conservation.
Two new resources are available online: “Links between agricultural practices and biodiversity in Mediterranean Landscapes” (report and factsheet) documents cases across our pilot landscapes and the Mediterranean basin, while “the legacy of the land” is a visual tool that can be used to communicate the importance of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.
Efforts to Inscribe the “Mandra-System” of Lemnos Island in the National Inventory of Intangible Heritage Underway
Following the successful proposal submission to inscribe melipasto/melichloro cheese in the National Inventory of the Intangible Heritage of Greece, effort is now afoot to develop a proposal for another element of the intangible heritage of Lemnos, that of the ‘mandra system’.
Reintroduced Nubian Ibex Species in the West Bekaa Caught on Camera, While Restoration Work of Degraded Pastures are underway
Camera traps capture images that show the reintroduction of the Nubian Ibex to the Shouf Biosphere Reserve in Lebanon, while implementation of a management and restoration plan for degraded high mountain pastures in the Himas of West Bekaa is underway.
Results from Years of Research on Biological and Cultural Diversity in the Moroccan High Atlas now Available in an Online Database
In the Moroccan High Atlas, the Global Diversity Foundation launched an integrative and living biocultural database for those interested in learning about the rich biological and cultural diversity in the region, developed and distributed a colourful booklet on local and useful plant products, and distributed medicinal and aromatic plants to High Atlas families.
In the dehesas and montados of Spain and Portugal, as the COVID-19 crisis revealed the vulnerability of production systems, project partners WWF Spain, Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza and WWF Portugal responded by advocating for support from the government for small scale farmers, while continuing efforts to promote sustainably-produced food.
For years nutritionists have extolled the virtues of a Mediterranean diet, now environmental NGOs like WWF are calling for us to improve our health and the environment by following the Med. The #MedFoodHeroes campaign from 15-27 June coordinated by @RootedEveryday celebrates the rich cuisine the Mediterranean has to offer and the benefits to people and planet when we buy from small sustainable producers.