The European project HNV-Link, coordinated by CIHEAM-IAMM and funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, held its final conference last January 31 in Montpellier. This event gathered over 120 participants from 22 countries to exchange about the challenges and the future of the High Nature Value farming in Europe and the UE common agricultural policies. The HNV-Link thematic network, 13 partners from 10 EU countries, presented also the main achievements of the project Report!
Learning, innovation, and knowledge: these three words define the HNV-Link spirit. The goal of this project? To foster the exchange of know-how and innovations that sustain High Nature Value (HNV) farming systems, and to advocate for their recognition and support by European and national policies.
But what is actually High Nature Value farming? As explained in the HNV-Link website (www.hnvlink.eu), “The concept of High Nature Value farming, developed in the early 1990’s from a growing recognition that the conservation of biodiversity in Europe depends, among others, on the continuation of traditional low-intensity farming systems”. For HNV-Link member Xavier Poux, agronomist and doctor in rural economics, High Nature Value farming aims to “take into account, specifically, the challenges of biodiversity conservation on a large scale“.
The project is materialized by the networking of 10 European HNV territories (“Learning Areas”) in which a range of stakeholders, including farmers, research and development institutes, agri-food companies, NGOs, Local Action Groups, local authorities, etc., collaborate towards common sustainable development goals.
The participatory approaches conducted and the innovations identified have been pooled to benefit the different learning areas and other territories sharing the same issues. HNV-Link thus federates multi-actors sites facing similar challenges in order to weigh more in the European and national political decisions and to push for relevant HNV farming support measures to be implemented in the field.
Therefore, this Final Conference was an opportunity to propose recommendations to better support High Nature Value farms and agricultural practices through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and to present the key results of the project, with a particular focus on the exchange of good practices between the partners.
Representatives of the European Commission (DG Agri, DG Env, and EIP Agri) spoke on the importance of HNV farming for the conservation of biodiversity and landscapes, and for the economy of the territories, and highlighted the support measures proposed by the Commission.
Policy recommendations for European and national decision-makers will be formalised following this conference and will be published on the HNV-Link website, with all the other project’s results (www.hnvlink.eu). This vibrant multi-stakeholder network will continue to work for the recognition and promotion of High Nature Value farming, and for the preservation of the many goods and services it provides to our society.