Auditors to scrutinise EU contribution to biodiversity in farming

The European Court of Auditors has announced it will assess whether the EU’s agricultural policy does enough to help maintain and enhance biodiversity.

In particular, the auditors will examine the design of the EU biodiversity strategy and its application in the common agricultural policy (CAP).

They will also assess the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EU funding for biodiversity in farming.

Europe has a rich diversity of wild plants and animals, many of which are unique to this continent and exist nowhere else in the world. Biodiversity hotspots in the EU’s overseas territories enlarge this richness.

However, biodiversity loss in the EU continues. More than 22% of European species are now threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN European Red List.

In 2011, the European Commission adopted the EU Biodiversity Strategy, which aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020.

Measuring biodiversity

Agricultural biodiversity refers to all ecosystems and life forms directly related to farming. This includes rare seed varieties and animal breeds, many organisms such as soil fauna, weeds, pests, predators, and all of the native plants and animals living on and passing through a farm.

Biodiversity in the EU is in continuous decline with some blaming modern farming practices.

“One million species worldwide are at risk of extinction, a recent international report warns. In the EU, agriculture is the largest contributor to biodiversity loss,” said Janusz Wojciechowski, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit.

“Our audit will determine how helpful EU contribution has been to correct and even reverse this situation.”