Evaluation of rural development policies and LEADER programmes
02 / 2008 - 01 / 2012
In developing the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and supporting Member StatesÂ¿ preparation of new rural development programmes for the period 2007-13, the Commission and Council have adopted a much more strategic and objective-led approach to these programmes and their key purposes, clarifying goals and priorities. Instruments have been grouped under axes, broadly corresponding to those priorities. In addition, in moving from over 200 programmes supported by four different funding frameworks to a single fund, there has been a welcome simplification of the framework for programming and delivery. Nevertheless, in spite of these developments, the individual rural development instruments brigaded within the new four-axis structure remain largely unchanged since the early 1990s. In addition, a number of studies and experts have raised concerns about a potential mis-match between certain measures and rural development goals and priorities. In this context, therefore, a review of the design of policies including a range of instruments and their application is highly pertinent to ensuring effective and efficient delivery of European rural development, into the future. This project aims to understand the processes and structures underlying the formulation, implementation and impacts of the latest European rural development policies. It focuses on priority setting, design, targeting and delivery processes of the 2007 to 2013 programming period, taking account of the diversity of European agricultural and rural systems and contexts. It will look beyond the evaluation framework provided by the EU to provide a wider and deeper analysis of effects including an examination of key institutional, social and capacity building implications and opportunities in rural development policy. This project addresses the question of how to best assess impacts of rural development policies on all levels and across the great diversity of EuropeÂ¿s rural areas. The direct involvement of the concerned institutions and stakeholders in the research process will contribute to the development of policy and practice recommendations that are directly applicable to the work and decision making of relevant actors at EU, national and regional levels.