The Evaluation of Rural Development Policy in the EU
Evaluation is firmly established as part of rural development policymaking in the EU. A requirement to evaluate is set out in the Rural Development Regulation, the legal basis for spending EU funds on agreed aspects of rural development, which also stipulates the process to be used. Member States are responsible for ensuring that independent "ex ante," mid-term and "ex post" evaluations are carried out for each seven-year Rural Development Programme (RDP), but with inputs from the Commission, notably on common evaluation questions to be used in all countries. Such a heavily structured system has both advantages and disadvantages. Consistency of approach enables synthesis of evaluation results at the EU level and provides a degree of quality control. However, it constrains the ability of evaluators to pursue issues which may be of importance locally or to other stakeholders. Technical details, especially the timing of evaluation stages, also diminish the ability to learn from past programmes. Data availability remains an important issue. Nevertheless, our experience is that it is both possible and important to learn from evaluating RDPs, not only to measure their apparent achievements, but also to enhance the quality of the policy process, at all levels. Copyright (c) 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) The Agricultural Ecomomics Society and the European Association of Agricultural Economists 2010.
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Volume (Year): 9 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (04)
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