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Halting the loss of pollinators - role of EU agricultural and regional development policies

The European Commission, in cooperation with the European Committee of the Regions, organised an EU Conference “Halting the loss of pollinators: the role of the EU agricultural and regional development policies” on 21 February.

The event reflected on what has been achieved in the 2014-2020 period and discussed how to step up actions in the future.

A webstream of the event can be found using the following links:

Timings of the webstreams are available here.

Download the final report by clicking on the link below 


In past decades, pollinators have dramatically declined in occurrence and diversity across the EU. Numerous pollinator species are already extinct or threatened with extinction. This is a significant cause for concern. Pollinators are vital for the functioning of ecosystems, and human-wellbeing depends on the direct and indirect benefits they provide. In response to this challenge, the European Commission adopted on 1 June 2018 the first-ever EU coordinated action on pollinators – the EU Pollinators Initiative.

The need to maintain and restore habitats for pollinators in rural and urban areas has been long established in the EU policies, in particular, the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. The EU Pollinators Initiative looks to strengthen the integration of this need by promoting and facilitating the uptake of effective measures and projects under the EU agricultural and regional development policies.

This event focused on:

  • Taking stock of the contribution of the EU agricultural and regional development policies to the conservation of pollinators in the programming period 2014-2020;
  • How to build on lessons learnt to ensure more effective measures and projects in the 2021-2027 period.

The event was well attended by the national and regional authorities responsible for designing and managing the EU common agricultural policy funds (European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) and the EU regional development policy funds (European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund) and stakeholders involved in its implementation such as land managers, local authorities, civil society organisations, researchers and businesses.

Download the presentations:

Opening session

CAP morning session

Regional development policies morning session

CAP afternoon session

Regional development policies afternoon session

Download the posters:


The EU Pollinators Initiative responds to the calls for action made by the European Parliament and the Council that confirmed the urgent need, expressed across stakeholder groups, to tackle the dramatic decline of insect pollinators in the EU. The initiative contributes to the objectives of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 and the EU progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Initiative defines strategic objectives and actions to be taken by the EU and the Member States to tackle the decline of pollinators domestically and globally. The integrated framework sets priorities to improve knowledge on the causes and consequences; tackling the causes of pollinator decline, and engaging society and promoting collaboration.

Actions 5 and 6 of the EU Pollinators Initiative encourage and support Member States and stakeholders to make full use of the EU agricultural and regional development (cohesion) policies to maintain and restore pollinator habitats in rural and urban areas, by integrating pollinator conservation needs into the main funds delivering those policies:

  • European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development provide opportunities to support pollinators in agricultural areas and the wider rural countryside, including in Natura 2000 areas. In this structure, cross-compliance, direct payments‘ greening component, and rural development measures provide a broad set of instruments that can help tackle pressures on insect pollinators. For the common agricultural policy post-2020, enhanced conditionality, eco-schemes and agri-environment-climate measures (AECMs) are proposed as the new “green architecture”. These will be key instruments also from pollinators’ perspective, as they will link the CAP support to environment- and climate-friendly farming practices.
  • European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund are part of the European Structural and Investment Funds, and key to support Member States’ investments in biodiversity and nature, in particular through green infrastructure. These can come in the form of (i) investments in protecting and restoring nature and biodiversity, (ii) climate change mitigation and adaptation or (iii) sustainable urban development. Through deployment of green infrastructure, they can also support the conservation of pollinators at landscape scale. A significant part of the allocation relevant for the protection pollinators is currently implemented through the European Territorial Cooperation programmes or Interreg. Local actions on pollinators through community-led local development (CLLD) are also an important avenue to support pollinator conservation in local communities.

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