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Agriculture for sustainable development: A dialogue on societal demand, pressures and options for policy

Final Report Summary - SASSPO (Agriculture for sustainable development: A dialogue on societal demand, pressures and options for policy)

The SASSPO project was conducted by MTT Agrifood Research Finland (coordinator) and LEI Agricultural Economics Research Institute, the Netherlands. The overall objective of the project was to move towards a more integrated and sustainable approach to agriculture and rural development in Europe by using the existing research results and democratic deliberation. The approach was strongly future-orientated.

The objectives of the SASSPO project were to:
- understand the critical linkages between market reform, the rural development policies and agri-environmental schemes;
- bring together policy makers, stakeholders and scientists of these policy areas to reach a common understanding on the policy issues;
- establish a cooperation pattern between authorities responsible for agricultural policies;
- rural development and agri-environmental issues;
- exchange experiences between old and new member states;
- identify a new research agenda based on options for policy reform.

With the aim of bringing together scientists, policy makers, politicians, producers, consumers and other relevant stakeholders to discuss the achievements as well as future needs related to scientific support to agricultural policies in Europe, two policy dialogue seminars were organised. The first policy dialogue seminar was organised in Helsinki in Finland from 7-8 September 2006 with participants from the EU countries of Eastern and Northern Europe and the second in the Hague in the Netherlands 12-13 October 2006 with participants from the EU countries of Western and Southern Europe. The total number of participants was 51 and they represented Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK. In addition to the country representatives from agricultural and environmental administration and research, there were representatives from the European Commission, OECD, Friends of Earth, Farmers association (FNSEA) and European Landowners' Organisation (ELO).

Four policy briefs were produced based on the four background notes and the findings of the policy dialogue seminars. The policy briefs were then summarised into one document. The summary displays the main results of the whole project: 15 crucial current CAP policy issues, eventual policy recommendations connected to them as well as the respective research needs. The summary concludes with ideas on the use of policy dialogues. A website for the project was also setup (please see http://www.mtt.fi/SASSPO online). All documents (excluding the manuscripts of articles) are available on the project website. A press release in English and newsletters in Dutch, English, Finnish, German, Hungarian, French and Swedish languages have been prepared and disseminated.

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