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Mainstreaming of Climate Change into Rural Development Policy post 2013

Mainstreaming of Climate Change into Rural Development Policy post 2013

Mainstreaming of climate change in different policy areas is a priority for the European Union (EU), reflected in the requirement that 20% of EU funds in the 2014 to 2020 programming period should be climate related. Different EU funds need to mainstream climate actions, including the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development can support climate change mitigation and adaptation in agriculture and land management through funding of targeted activities under Rural Development Programmes (RDPs).

This project, lead by Ecologic Institute, aims to support the mainstreaming process by providing technical guidance to RDP Managing Authorities on how to include and design new and innovative climate-oriented operations in RDPs.


During the programming period from 2007 to 2013, Member States already included various climate operations in their RDPs, focusing more prominently on mitigation operations. Some of the most common operations included renewable energy, energy efficiency, afforestation and forest fire prevention, irrigation, improved nitrogen-use efficiency and manure management, and grassland management.

For the programming period from 2014 to 2020, Member States can support climate operations under a wide range of rural development measures such as the agri-environment-climate measure, forestry measures, investments in physical assets, knowledge transfer and information actions, and organic farming. Moreover, increased emphasis is placed on flexibility, cooperation, and facilitating of action at a broader landscape level, beyond individual farm holdings. Thus, opportunities are also available to support coordinated climate actions.

Project objectives

The project aims to:

  • develop an inventory of new and innovative types of climate operations which are regionally appropriate and contribute to the EU's "green growth" priorities.
  • assess these operations according to relevant criteria and provide technical guidance on how to design and incorporate these operations in different rural development measures.
  • provide guidance and best practice examples on how to address climate change in LEADER, the co-operation measure, and thematic sub-programmes.
  • develop guidance on relevant combinations of rural development measures and sub-measures.
  • develop criteria for assessment of these combinations' climate effects and contribution to green growth in the EU, in particular the creation of jobs.
  • assist the European Commission in disseminating the study results by preparing outreach tools and supporting a workshop.


The study draws on available published literature and databases, as well as additional quantitative and qualitative assessments. Interviews and questionnaires are used to obtain insights from practitioners. The analysis is framed by using a farm typology from the CAPRI agricultural sector model and the agro-climatic zones developed by Metzger et al. (2005).

Five case study regions (in Italy, Germany, France, Hungary and UK) provide input and feedback to develop better-targeted, regionally differentiated outcomes for the RDP measures. The case study regions also allow for direct contact with regional stakeholders. In addition, an Advisory Board representing national/regional authorities and organisations involved in RDP programming provides guidance and feedback from the perspective of different farming systems and agro-climatic zones.

Ecologic Institute in 'Mainstreaming of climate change into rural development policy post 2013'

In addition to coordinating the project, Ecologic Institute leads the task of assessing opportunities and developing concepts for collective climate actions under the LEADER approach, the co-operation measure, and the thematic sub-programmes of RDPs. Ecologic Institute is also responsible for organizing a workshop with practitioners from RDP Managing Authorities.

The study report Mainstreaming Climate Change into Rural Development Policy post 2013 [pdf, 4.4 MB, English], which includes the Technical Guidance for RDP Managing Authorities, is available for download.

European Commission, Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG Climate)
December 2013 to September 2014
Project ID
climate change mitigation and adaptation, agricultural policy, rural development programmes, study, interview, case study region, guidance, workshop, dissemination, flyer, brochure, Europe, Italy, Germany, France, Hungary, United Kingdom