Evaluation of agri-environmental measures in Flanders (Belgium)

Koen Carels
Dirk Van Gijseghem

Evaluation of agri-environmental measures in Flanders (Belgium)

Agri-environmental measures (AEM) in Belgium are implemented trough the Rural Development Programs (RDPs) of the Second Pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union. There are two rural development programs in the country's two regions: Flanders and Wallonia. Flanders was late in implementing AEM. Even regulation 2078/92 was not put into practice in Flanders. With the Rural Development Plan 2000-2006 Flanders tried to catch up on AEM with the other European countries. Despite little experience with AEM, about 12 AEM have been implemented since the start of the program. A mid-term evaluation by an independent evaluator in 2003 considered the 2000-2002 period. The evaluation was done in the framework of the EU common monitoring and evaluation approach. For this purpose, the European Commission (EC) had defined common evaluation questions, criteria and indicators to be used by program evaluators. Most of the evaluation approach went to fulfilling the EC demands, which aimed mostly at assessing the environmental effects of the AEM. The evaluator was full-time assisted by a staff member of the Division for Agricultural Policy Analysis (DAPA). This set-up proved to be very successful. Too early to measure results and impacts, the evaluator however made useful recommendations to program management. The importance of an integrated monitoring and evaluation framework was shown. Also a survey among farmers implementing AEM was held. The analysis delivered useful information about what's happening on the field.

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