UK 1986 Agriculture Act and Target 11 of the Aichi Targets

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The UK 1986 Agriculture Act addresses, among other issues, the adverse environmental impact created by the intensification and modernisation of the agricultural sector. Art. 18 of this Act established the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) scheme, under which protected areas were identified primarily on the basis of biodiversity, landscape and cultural heritage importance. Farmers operating within these areas were incentivised to adopt ‘greener’, generally less intensive agricultural methods, that helped retain and enhance these outcomes. In 1991 the ESA scheme was joined by a sister scheme, the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, and both were replaced in 2005 by the Environmental Stewardship Scheme. Such schemes are now known generically as agri-environment schemes and form a compulsory element of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). The succeeding schemes, it should be noted, maintained the ESA system’s most important features.
The ESA system was successful in fulfilling some of the objectives of Target 11, most notably the protection of biodiversity within specified areas, and the equitable management (including benefit sharing) of these areas. Furthermore, the ESA model could potentially support the connectivity of protected areas, where they are separated by farmlands.
The model presented by the ESA model, if correctly adjusted, can be beneficial especially to states with vast farmlands and a modernised (or modernising) agricultural sector. States wishing to adopt this model however, should be aware of the financial cost involved in its implementation, and ensure that sufficient attention is given to the technical designing and the precise management prescriptions that this plan requires.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyInternational Development Law Organization
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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