MDI performs the ex ante evaluation of the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014–2020

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is preparing the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland for a new programme period concerning years 2014–2020. For this purpose, MDI is conducting an ex ante evaluation. The evaluation concerns the process of developing a policy programme – the evaluation process allows refinements and improvements to the programme drafts in a way that the programme objectives will be achieved in a cost-effective manner. MDI is making the evaluation in cooperation with two partners, the University of Eastern Finland (UEF, Karelian Institute / Spatia) and the Nordic Centre for Spatial Development, Nordregio. Also selected experts from MTT, ProAgria and Finnish Centre for Animal Welfare (EHK) will offer their expertise in the course of the evaluation process.

The main goals of the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014–2020 are based on the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The goals are: improvement of the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector, sustainable use of natural resources, and balanced regional development of rural areas. The goals also include six unionwide priorities, which are 1) fostering knowledge transfer and innovations; 2) competitiveness of all types of agriculture and farm viability; 3) food chain organization and risk management; 4) restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems; 5) resource efficiency and transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy; and 6) social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development. The six priorities are included in the programme and will be implemented through 17 acts and by Community-Led Local Development groups (LEADER).

The ex ante evaluation project applies a developmental approach and is therefore performed before the programmes implementation. MDI focuses on improving the programme as a whole, including its design, its contents, the quality of its implementation, and its effectiveness. With the evaluation, MDI is also producing concrete and instantly accessible / exploitable knowledge for the ministry and different national stakeholders and for supporting the work of local action groups. Both the assessment and recommendations for the contents of the Evaluation Plan (a new element in the programme in 2014−2020) will be included in the evaluation report.

During the evaluation process the next questions, for example, will be asked: In how far are the issues ranked and prioritized in the light of the overall objectives of the EU Strategy 2020 and CAP 2020? To what extent does the set up intervention logic secure that the selected measures will contribute to the achievement of the regional, national and EU targets? To what extent is the form of support chosen coherent with the selected measure, the envisaged action and the specific objectives? How plausible are the defined milestones and targets?

The ex ante evaluation project is almost a year long process, starting in early autumn 2012 and ending in late spring 2013. The final evaluation report will be given to the ministry in June 2013. The evaluation results are available for all thematic working groups during the whole lifespan of the evaluation work, and also the EC will base its assessment concerning the preparation of the programme to the evaluation material provided by MDI. The programme is designed and will be consequently evaluated in stages, until the final programme version, including the ex ante evaluation report (with the SEA Report), will be submitted to the Commission.

For further information:

Janne Antikainen, Design Director

+358 40 764 1829, janne.antikainen(a)