The loss of biodiversity continues unhalted globally. Agriculture plays a crucial role because it is both heavily dependent on the ecosystem services based on biodiversity and, with its current practices, a main driver for the loss of natural biodiversity. In Europe, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) plays a crucial role in shaping agricultural land use. However, despite the inclusion of environmental goals and measures, it has not been able to reverse the trend for biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. One reason for this ‘ecological ineffectiveness’ is the low uptake of environmental measures by European farmers.
The project named CAP4GI was conceived to develop policy recommendations to improve the implementation of the current CAP as well as the design of future agricultural policies after the end of the current funding period. It focuses not only on ways to render measures more ecologically effective but also more economically and socially feasible for farms. For that purpose, CAP4GI takes a transformative co-design approach. The core element of the co-design is the realisation of a multi-level stakeholder exchange platform process in two German federal states (Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia). In this article, we present and describe our multi-level exchange platform approach and relate our experiences from the first (out of three) years of the platform process. Additionally, we reflect on the transformative potential of this multi-level approach as well as on potential barriers to the realisation of this potential.