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Evaluating Agri-environmental Policies

Design, Practice and Results

image of Evaluating Agri-environmental Policies

These conference proceedings present a series of evaluations of agri-environmental policies in OECD countries.  They examine how effective the policies have been in achieving objectives and what policy makers have learned about the design and implementation of their policies. 

These proceedings show that different methods of policy evaluation are complementary. Most countries focus on evaluating the environmental effectiveness rather than the economic efficiency of policies, using physical indicators rather than monetary values. Many policies are achieving their environmental objectives, but are taking longer than originally anticipated. The initiative being taken in many countries to incorporate monitoring and data collection into programme design and implementation is a positive development.  But a number of steps need to be taken to improve the quality of evaluations, including the better articulation of policy goals and objectives, improving data quality and establishing baselines for comparison.

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The Evaluation of Agri-environmental Measures

A Survey of Different Methods used by Italian Regions

Agri-environmental measures have been developed in Italy by the 21 regional authorities.2 These schemes offer farmers voluntary, multi-annual contracts where they are paid for delivering environmental goods and services which go beyond the “reference level” of good agricultural. Three measures account for 89% of total expenditure: integrated production, organic production, and active management of pastures and meadows. This paper analyses the evolution of agri-environmental measure evaluation since they began in 1994, considering the socio-economic, agricultural and environmental impacts. The paper concludes that the crucial point, whatever the methodology used to evaluate the socio-economic, agricultural or environmental impacts, is the availability of reference data and a local level monitoring system. The setting up of a detailed geographic information system is a precondition for the impact evaluation of any environmental policy. The Italian experience demonstrates that an indirect analysis of the environmental impact based on contextual indicators, administrative data and scientific data coming from literature or specific research, can provide good results at relative lower cost. The survey also shows that good evaluation results can be reached by combining different methods and different criteria (e.g. economic, social and environmental). Considering the costs and the analytical skills required the combination of state and pressure indicators seems to be a good alternative to the estimation of impact indicators in the case of large scale programmes.

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