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Minister Podgoršek with environmental NGOs on the environmental aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy

Minister Jože Podgoršek met by video conference with the representatives of Slovenian and EU environmental NGOs, such as BirdLife Slovenia (DOPPS), the Slovenian Foundation for Sustainable Development (Umanotera), BridLife international environmental organisation and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB). The discussion centred on how to include environmental protection in the Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plans.

Minister sitting at the table with his coworkers. On a big screen in front of them the representatives of non govermental organizations.

Minister Podgoršek and his coworkers | Author MKGP

Minister Jože Podgoršek listened to the ideas and questions raised at today's video conference by representatives of several environmental NGOs. He stressed that the political agreement on the new Common Agricultural Policy reached by the Council of the European Union in June includes a number of measures that will help protect the environment and support sustainable agriculture. All member states perceive the proposed measures as more environmentally-oriented. He added that it is very important to cooperate with NGOs in preparing the strategic plans and that this is the right way to prepare a balanced strategic plan. Slovenia has already worked with NGOs in preparing the strategic plans and plans to do so in the future. The horizontal working group for the preparation of the Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan for the 2023–2027 period will meet in the coming weeks. BirdLife Slovenia and Umanotera are both nominated in the working group.

The discussion in the October's Agriculture and Fisheries Council confirmed the Minister's expectations that member states include environmental institutions and interested stakeholders in the consultations on strategic plans, and that they do their best to find adequate and balanced solutions ensuring all three dimensions of sustainability. While the Presidency does not plan an additional discussion at the Council, it recommends the NGOs to fully exploit the possibility of public consultations in each member state to present their findings about strategic plans. As regards the question of carbon neutrality in agriculture, he emphasised that the Slovenian strategic plan includes some measures that could lead to carbon neutrality in the future. The meeting with the NGOs was arranged on the proposal of the Minister since they did not attend the informal meeting of agriculture ministers, which was held in Slovenia in September, due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 measures that apply to the organisation of events.