PSI current research
Evaluation of the Contribution of the Structural Funds to Sustainable
Project Leader: Paul Ekins
Sponsor: European Commission, through sub-contract to GHK International
Period: January 2002 - September 2002
Background and aims
The aim of the project is to assist in integrating sustainable
development (SD) objectives into the European Commission's regional policy objectives,
through improvement in the design and delivery of Objective 1 and 2 Programmes
and selected Community Initiatives, funded by the European Regional Development
Fund (ERDF), part of the EU Structural Funds (SF). Sustainable development is
already a horizontal priority for SF programmes but there is a desire to improve
the contribution of SF to the achievement of SD objectives.
The evaluation has the following specific objectives:
- To develop methods, indicators and approaches for the evaluation of regional
SD, particularly through the development of a '4-capitals' evaluation model;
- To identify ways throughout the delivery systems for SF to generate better
projects promoting SD; and
- To identify the main policy trade-offsbeing made in regional development
policies either explicitly or implicitly.
The project will use a range of methods including:
- Desk research, to review the content of CSF, OPs and SPD, Monitoring Committee
reports, thematic evaluations and the ex ante, interim and final evaluation
work for the programming period 1994-1999.
- Construction of an indicator set for the assessment of the changes in capital
in the assisted (and where feasible in comparative non-programme regions.
- Econometric modelling for the assessment at EU level of the economic impact
of the SF.
- Development of a proforma for the assessment of objectives and priority
measures, to be applied by each of the regional/national teams. Each proforma
will enable the key characteristics of the measure to be identified: costs,
timescale objectives, target groups, distinctive local characteristics, monitoring
indicators, monitoring results, implementation aspects etc.
- Stakeholder interviews and co-operative meetings with managing authorities.
Importance of Research
The sponsor has indicated that the resulting evaluation will
- To provide tools and methodologies which can assist regions, Member States
and the EU in assessing the sustainability of their development plans;
- To enhance the sustainability of the SF programmes in the 2000-2006 period,
for example in the context of the mid-term programme reviews; and
- In the preparation of SF policies beyond 2006.
These are clearly important uses for the promotion of sustainable
development in the European Union generally, and especially in the Applicant
Countries which will receive the bulk of SF funding after 2006.