Indicators for the Evaluation of the EU’s Rural Development Programmes

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Publication Date 2005
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On September 20, 2005, the Council of the European Union adopted the EU’s rural development policy for the next programming period 2007-2013. The new council regulation on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) reinforces the current rural development policy while simplifying its implementation. The Commission redeveloped its rural development policy with the following main features:

- One funding and programming instrument, the European Agriculture Rural Development Fund (EARDF);
- A genuine EU strategy for rural development with better focus on EU priorities;
- A strengthened bottom-up approach. Each programme includes the Leader approach with possibilities for innovative governance based on local bottom up initiatives;
- Reinforced control, monitoring, evaluation and reporting. A common monitoring and evaluation framework will be implemented in collaboration with the Member States in order to support the programme management and maximize the impact of the rural development programmes. The programmes are continuously evaluated by means of an ongoing evaluation system.

The study ‘Indicators for the evaluation of the EU’s rural development programmes’ contributes to the preparations by DG Agriculture of the common monitoring and evaluation framework. More specifically, this study on ‘indicators for evaluation’ provides draft guidelines on the use of output and result indicators. The indicators form the basis to assess the progress and the effects of rural development policies following their implementation in the new programming period (2007 – 2013).

Output and result indicators are directly related to the hierarchy of objectives at the different levels of the rural development policy (i.e. measure/programme level, regional/national/EU level). The most important key concepts of the rural development programme, the monitoring and evaluation of the programme, together with the common indicators to follow up the rural development are explained in the following. Guidelines are provided on how to monitor the implementation of measures and operations within each rural development programme effectively, and practical steps are established to define additional indicators where appropriate. In order to assure consistent procedures to gather and analyse the monitoring information throughout the Union, a common framework for programme reporting is proposed. Each of these parts is elaborated in separate ‘tasks’, for which the structure and the main findings are discussed here.

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