Anastasia Yang – The rocky road of policy performance evaluation

For most REDD+ initiatives it is still early days, therefore lessons should be drawn from other types of initiatives. Often in attempts to inform REDD+ such lessons are sought within tropical regions, however policy practices outside of these regions, although with clearly different contexts, can still provide useful insights. The European Union’s (EU) Rural Development Policy (RDP), is one such mechanism, implemented from 2005 and revised every 6 years, it has a decade of experience and lessons that can help improve our understanding towards other environmental and livelihood initiatives. The EU introduced common monitoring and evaluation indicators to provide consistency to RDP evaluation, embracing mainly a quantitative approach to understand progress towards environmental, as well as socio-economic objectives. These indicators potentially open up opportunities for policy assessments to better understand efficiency and effectiveness.

This talk focuses on a study (Yang et al. 2014) that used spatial econometrics to examine the spatial dependency and determinants of Scotland’s agri-environmental measure in order to assess the potential for the common policy indicators to estimate policy targeting performance. The agri-environmental measure is one of the most widely supported RDP environmental measure in terms of number of participants and expenditure in the EU. Understanding the spatial determinants of uptake and expenditure of this measure could assist policy-makers in guiding future policy targeting efforts for the rural environment. However limitations with the data still prevail highlighting that even within the EU context were certain resources and secured rights are common place, limitations in evaluation continue to persist.

Yang, Anastasia L., Rounsevell, M. D., Wilson, R. M., & Haggett, C. (2014) Spatial analysis of agri-environmental policy uptake and expenditure in Scotland, Journal of Environmental Management, 133: 104-115.

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