Review of the French current national policy on Payments for Environmental Services

This report is an overview of the current situation of water policy in France. It collects and analyses information regarding the economic and institutional context of public aid to farmers. The goal of its aid is to support farmers towards a change in farming practices that are more environmentally friendly. The report aims to examine this aid in order to provide a basic evaluation to set up Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). A similar analysis conducted in England improves this baseline to inform the development of future approaches to PES design. PES mechanisms will be tested in several local territories in France (Normandy, Brittany) and analysed through comparative studies of the different drainage basins. This baseline, serving as a reference, will allow an assessment of the effectiveness of the implementation of concrete PES at the end of the project. This evaluation is part of the CPES (Channel Payments for Ecosystem Services) project funded by the Interreg programme. It is a collaboration between English and French partners as well as the European Union, focused on improving water quality.


The following aspects will be examined in the report:

  • State of water resources and French agriculture (summary and key figures);

  • Analysis of the French national water policy framework

  • Description of public aid, economic incentives, and other financial mechanisms allocated to farmers to help them move from a conventional agriculture to an agriculture which is compatible with the water quality (conditions for granting aid, compliance rate among farmers, effects on the water quality objectives, type of contract, etc.)

  • Institutional analysis: organisation of the aid allocation process, frequency, contractual conditions, and evaluation of transaction costs.

  • Economic analysis: estimate of the programme cost, per-hectare granted value, cost-effectiveness of the aid schemes.

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