In July 2022, an Inter-CIL-Meeting gathered members of the a formal, written agreement for a specified duration signed by (at least) two parties. In Contracts2.0, we acknowledge the existence of informal contracts but use formal contracts to focus the research. More Innovation Labs in the Hautes-Pyrénées in France to learn with and from each other about “Agri-environmental contracting on the Commons” – experiences of contracts implemented on common land. 10 project partners from France (GIP-CRPGE, CIRAD), the UK (Natural England and Aberdeen University) and Belgium (INBO) as well as farmers, elected local officials, representatives of pastoral groups, hunters, environmental NGOs and a national park participated in the two-day-long meeting.
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Braving the hot French summer, the project partners discussed similarities and differences in the management and institutionalised administration of their common lands. The discussions and participants impressions were captured on video. You can watch a summary of the fields trips by following this link to the Parc de Néouvielle or this one to Aulon.
Do you like reading? Great, continue below and enjoy the key messages of the meeting!
Existing approaches to collective land management should be recognized in future contracts
Collective approaches to agri-environmental contracting take several forms in Europe. One example are the collective contracts resulting from the implementation of AECMs on common land, where land management has been organised by collective entities long before the CAP entered into force. it is important to consider them as such and build on their experience once considering “collective approaches of AE contracting” at EU scale. The summer grazing highlands in the Pyrénées and the UK commons share such a farming system on marginal hill land, with a history and culture of pastoral grazing that goes back centuries. In this context, increased are the direct and indirect contributions of nature to human well-being (TEEB 2010; CICES classification). Ecosystem services include the terms ecosystem goods and services (Albert et al., 2016), and environmental services. In man... More provision must be contractually ensured while also recognizing the already existing ES provision resulting from collective management.
Collective approaches of AE contracting can build on the experience of existing collective contracts
In Flanders, in Belgium, no extensive grazing on highlands exists, nevertheless, there are common grazing areas, where more and more municipalities allow shepherds to graze their herds. The Belgian example represents a European tendency towards the development of grazing to manage high nature value communal areas (wetlands, or protected areas, for example) Therefore, the experiences of collective uplands management can be useful even though the socio-ecosystems are quite different.
The value of informal relationships in managing the Commons and in AE contracting
In France, farmers are formally organized through collective structures, but social pressure has been lostIn the UK, on the other hand, commoners are linked through a social a formal, written agreement for a specified duration signed by (at least) two parties. In Contracts2.0, we acknowledge the existence of informal contracts but use formal contracts to focus the research. More (cohesion). Most commons do have a ‘Commoners Association’, but this Association only takes on a legal form through the implementation of an AE a formal, written agreement for a specified duration signed by (at least) two parties. In Contracts2.0, we acknowledge the existence of informal contracts but use formal contracts to focus the research. More. There is often a reluctance to formalize these associations, as the relationships between commoners are often fragile, and the current types of contracts (with one representative signing to the AECM and a second legal document between commoners) have a litigious dimension which can play a role in upsetting the local social balance. In Flanders, farmers are not formally organised as well, they need to recognise the value of this, to then be able to replicate it.
Other key actors involved in AE contracting on the Commons are communes, shepherds, and intermediaries
Other significant differences, which we have uncovered in our Inter-CIL, are about:
- Additional key actors to be considered in AE contracting alongside farmers in France are: i) the landowners (the commune) who have an important role in land management, administrative tasks and decision making, and ii) the communal shepherds in charge of implementing the a formal, written agreement for a specified duration signed by (at least) two parties. In Contracts2.0, we acknowledge the existence of informal contracts but use formal contracts to focus the research. More.
- Where facilitation/ advice sits in the See collective contractual models. More process. Intermediaries take several roles that vary given institutional and policy context. To fill these roles, they need to acquire important skills (communication, adaptability, translation, support). They also need time and financial support. For example, the design of England’s Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund (CSFF) provides an opportunity for funding more innovative and experimental forms of collective AECMs.
If you want to know more about the meeting, have a look at the full meeting report.
© Text: Céline Dutilly (CIRAD)
© Picture/Videos: Emmanuelle Cheyns