What do agri-environmental measures actually promote? An investigation on AES objectives for the EU 2000-2006 rural development program

F. Bartolini, V. Gallerani, D. Viaggi

Abstract


This paper provides an analysis of the importance implicitly attached by local stakeholders to different environmental objectives in agri-environmental schemes in Europe. For at least 20 years, increasing the sustainability of agriculture has been a major policy concern in Europe. However, the relative importance of specific objectives of agri-environmental schemes is rarely quantified, and this strongly affects the ability to assess the actual effectiveness of such schemes. This paper adopts a methodology based on the use of the concept of «weight» as a quantitative measure of the importance of each objective. The objectives have been identified using a hierarchical grid of indicators based on the EU framework for the mandatory evaluation of agri-environmental schemes. The quantification of weights was based on a questionnaire submitted to more than 70 stakeholders in 10 case study regions in different EU countries. The results highlight different regional profiles, denoting strategies with very different objective-related agri-environmental scheme specialisations, with some programs focusing on specific individual environmental issues such as landscape and biodiversity, and others focusing on several environmental objectives. Such results emphasise the need to integrate academic and institutional evaluation exercises in the measurement of the policy priorities, hence enabling to provide robust evaluations of policy effectiveness.


Keywords


agri-environmental schemes; environmental policy objectives; expert opinion; weights

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References


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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/20110901-223-10