Twenty years on from the European Unions Cork Declaration on Rural Development the leaders of the EUs Rural Development Policy will meet again in Cork (5th - 6th September) to set out the road map for agriculture, the environment and the rural economy. Twenty years later and the Common Agricultural Policy has failed to create an agricultural sector which is socially, economically or environmentally sustainable. Despite Commissioner Hogans recent efforts to highlight some of the success stories of Pillar II of CAP in Ireland, it is clear that the main thrust of the EUs agricultural policies and subsidies continue to run counter to the EU's own biodiversity strategy and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Indeed in Ireland agricultural intensification has resulted in agriculture being the leading cause of biodiversity loss and our greatest challenge in our efforts to meet compliance with our obligations under the Paris Agreement and the Water Framework Directive. Despite the spin and some notable success stories it is clear that in Commissioner Hogans home country agriculture is 'Not So Green'. This is clearly not acceptable moving forward and An Taisce see a second Cork Declaration as a perfect opportunity to set forth in a new direction that will deliver for all Europeans and our shared natural heritage.

In advance of the upcoming Cork conference on rural development Europe's leading environmental NGO coalitions the European Environmental Bureau, BirdLife Europe and CEEweb for Biodiversity have penned an open letter to Commissioner Hogan in an effort to provide some ‘sustainable food for thought’ ahead of what will hopefully be a productive debate about the future of European farming.