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Sustainable European agriculture

key research area at LUCSUS

Agriculture provides most of the food we eat and the fibers we wear while at the same time contributing up to 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions and consuming around 70% of global freshwater withdrawals. Navigating this tension between the societal necessity of agriculture and its environmental impacts is therefore at the heart of sustainable development.

Harvesting of agricultural field. Photo: Unsplash.

Within the European Union, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is potentially a very powerful political tool to guide agriculture either towards or away from sustainability. This research area explores the potential for the CAP to contribute to achieving the SDGs in Europe through its objectives, reforms, and distribution of around 60 billion euros per year in subsidies.

At LUCSUS researchers are studying the EU Common Agricultural Policy objectives and subsidies and their relation to environmental and social outcomes of agricultural systems.

Research focuses on evaluating agricultural systems and their social and environmental trade-offs andidentifying policy options to manage land for food, fuel, and fibre production more sustainably in Europe.

What is the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)?

The CAP, launched in 1962, is the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy.The CAP aims to support farmers, improve agricultural productivity, ensure food supply, promote rural development, help tackle climate change, and enable sustainable management of natural resources.  The AP is key to securing the future of agriculture and forestry, as well as achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal. The implementation and performance of the CAP is measured through a monitoring and evaluation framework.

Read more about the CAP on the European Commissions website