Consultations on future Agricultural PolicyWhy do we need a European Common Agricultural Policy? What are society’s objectives for agriculture? Why should we reform the CAP? What tools do we need for tomorrow’s CAP? These are the four main topics addressed during the public debate launched on April 12 by the European Union on the future its agricultural sector. An essential economic field that receives considerable funding from the community budget, CAP is once again under review. After the recent "important reforms" (2003 and 2008), now CAP’s future objectives are related to the new perspective of the Europe 2020 strategy and EU financial perspectives after 2013: at the end of the year the European Commission will publish a detailed plan. " The Common Agricultural Policy is not just a matter for experts. It’s a policy for all Europeans. We must listen to the citizens of Europe, We must take the time to get the ideas and expectations of all stakeholders", said Mr. Dacian Ciolos, Commissioner of Agriculture, "I want the reactions and thoughts not only of farmers, but also of environmental protection association, consumer, and animal welfare groups. We must open this debate up as much as possible. All of society benefits from this common European policy through food, land-use management, and environmental protection". A special website http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-debate has been created for contributions to the public debate until June 2010, an independent body will then produce a summary. In July 2010, the European Commission will organise an exclusive conference on the public debate.European Year for Combating Poverty: voicing social exclusion"In order to fight the plight of poverty we must understand the causes and voice socially excluded people. Journalists are called upon to play an important role in this debate": László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities presented this week a Journalist Award as part of the initiatives of 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. The journalist competition will be judged at national and EU levels and is open to print, online and audiovisual journalists. The winners, who will receive a sum of money, will be announced in a ceremony held in Brussels on December 17. For further information the candidates can visit the web-site www.2010againstpoverty.eu. "The journalist award," the Commissioner explained, "is very important in helping create awareness on the issues of poverty." Among the important events: art competitions, important Conferences on specific subject-matter such as child poverty and the homeless, plus a series of events that will be held in October during the International Day againstPoverty. Biodiversity: campaign to raise awareness The United Nations designated 2010 as the "Year of Biodiversity", but only 38% of Europeans know the meaning of the term, although another 28% have heard of it but do not know its meaning". The Eurobarometer recently published a survey on this topic. The survey revealed that: "Most citizens do not feel well informed about biodiversity" and "only 17% pf respondents agree that they are already touched by it". When asked about the most important threats to biodiversity, "27% prioritised pollution, with 26% blaming man-made disasters". The EU Commission stresses that world biodiversity "is seriously threatened with species being lost at 100 to 1000 times the normal rate". More than one third of species assessed are "threatened with extinction". Human activities are "causing this loss, through land-use, over-exploitation, unsustainable practices, pollution and the introduction of invasive species, which lead to habitat and species degradation. Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik after having published the Eurobarometer survey launched an awareness campaign. "Biodiversity is the natural engine for our future", she said, " and we must learn to treat it with care." " I hope this campaign will help do that, and raise awareness about the need to be kinder to the natural world we depend on." The campaign includes a web site, a video, art exhibitions, press articles. " For further information: www.weareallinthistogether.eu.