Issues

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The first challenge in selecting indicators for policy impact assessment is to find assessment criteria (measures) that can meaningfully capture key changes in the assessed system as consequences of the tested policy option, combining what is substantively relevant as a reflection of the desired result with what is practically realistic in terms of available data and models.  In other words, the indicator selection will affect how successfully SEAMLESS-IF tools will advocate the tested policies.

Second, the selected indicators must cover in an equal manner all the pillars of Sustainable development, i.e. to cover the environmental, the economic and the social dimensions of policy impacts. Also, preferably the indicators should refer to both domains of assessment: impacts on agriculture and impacts on the rest of the world. It should be noted that these two domains are not symmetric or independent. An impact on the agricultural sector may also have an impact on the rest of the world or vice versa. The impact of the rest of the world on the agricultural sector will probably not be directly tackled within the frame of the SEAMLESS-IF.

Third, indicator selection should insure consistency between the values of the organization – policy maker, the goal of the tested policy option and the ambition to actions, which is the process where goals are translated into strategic objectives. In other words, indicators can be understood as science-policy interfaces for the construction of ‘strategic knowledge’. In choosing strategic indicators we should ask whether this indicator has a high impact on reaching the core goals of the organization. With the strategic indicators we wish to inform policymakers or/and other stakeholders. Based on this information they may decide to take action, by either making or implementing a policy-instrument or to look into the issue further.

In addition, institutional indicators will be selected to assess the plausibility that a suggested policy can be implemented, through the “Procedure for the Institutional Compatibility Assessment (PICA)”. PICA can assist in assessing the plausibility of regulatory instruments to be implemented, i.e. which are the hindering factors and how string are they. This is important as the degree of implementation will definitively influence the impacts of the policy option.


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