I Development of innovative contractual models based on the review of existing agri-environment and climate initiatives and the design of new ones.
The Contracts2.0 contract design principles which will be developed in the Innovation Labs will focus on the following key components in a combined or stand-alone way: result-based approaches, collective implementation, consideration of tenure in the contracts, and public vs. private incentives to the delivery of environmental goods. It is expected that these design principles will lead to a better overall acceptance (by the farming community as well as other land users and policy stakeholders) and higher effectiveness of agri-environmental-climate contracts.
II Unlock and improve economic viability of agri-environment and climate initiatives through a renovated and coherent contractual framework.
The existing contract-based approaches for agri-environmental and climate schemes (AECM) are mostly designed to maximize environmental effectiveness and to enhance administrative manageability. This often results in schemes with limited uptake by farmers, because they do not see any added value comparing to their existing practise or because it conflicts with their production and economic goals. For these reasons, Contracts2.0 will dedicate more attention to the farm operational fit and economic feasibility when designing new contractual models. In this way, we aim to combine environmental effectiveness with unlocking and improving the economic viability of AECM initiatives beyond the income-foregone-approach, and consequently increase their acceptability for farmers. We expect to achieve this by cooperating with farmers who have different production orientation, farming intensities, and different economic and environmental goals.
III Provide support to policy makers and stakeholders by sharing good practice at national and regional level.
The approach taken in Contracts2.0 involves policy makers and stakeholders from the proposal writing phase onwards. A specific Work Package (Policy Innovation Labs, PILs) is devoted to the policy arena in close collaboration with and to a large degree driven by the policy makers and stakeholders. Cooperation with policy makers will take place in the PILs that bring together government staff from different levels (from directors, policy makers to those that provide advice at farming offices) and from different areas (agriculture, rural development, employment, environment and climate regulation). The PILs will be established in nine different countries, and actively involve at least 50 governmental institutions, non-governmental organizations and private companies.
Policy makers, stakeholders and government administration staff will be assisted to identify the most suitable contractual options for different circumstances. This will improve the policy process and lead to frameworks and contracts for a more effective and lasting delivery of environmental public goods, which are co-created by policy makers and stakeholders. In addition, by addressing potential barriers and opportunities in policies and regulation at regional/national level as well as EU level, Contracts2.0 will enable an increased uptake of agri-environmental and climate measures.
IV Strengthen transdisciplinary research and integrated scientific support for consistent approaches between agricultural and environment/climate priorities
Contracts2.0 will operationalize a multi-actor research community where a trans-disciplinary research agenda is co-designed from the outset with farmers (including family farmers and smallholders), landowners, land managers, citizens, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders, going beyond a conventional extension services approach (in which farmers are often only considered as beneficiaries or knowledge receptors). The intention of Contracts2.0 is to create a real impact on the farming system, promoting a true transformation into new sustainable and environmental practices. From this point of view, Contracts2.0 is not conceived as a linear academic exercise but expects changes and transformation through an iterative relationship between science, practice, and policy.