The results of the ex-durante report show benefit both for the planning process and pilots’ teams

The main task of the ex-durante evaluation was to document the progress made, review the involvement of primary stakeholders, and identify the first indications of intervention effects.

The report “Ex-durante Intervention Case Study” (D6.3.) done by PoliRural partnership is based on an analysis of 12 ex-durante evaluation reports of Action Plan implementation prepared by each pilot region. The ex-durante evaluations were carried out during the final stage of developing Foresight packages of the twelve pilot regions when pilot teams finalized Regional Action Plans and Roadmaps, worked on their adoption by decision-makers, and started the implementation of first actions.

The report studies the results of these evaluations and the effects of the ex-durante evaluation exercise on the mission-oriented transformation processes in pilot regions. The report assesses implementation progress made during the reporting period, evaluates contributions to the key EU missions, and the quality of measurement framework of the planned interventions. It summarises the results of the pilots’ work with stakeholders and looks for the changes in stakeholders’ engagement, ownership, and capacity.

Conducting an ex-durante evaluation provides an opportunity to ask important questions, reconsider the choices made and provide helpful information for decision making. Thus, it is helping to improve policies and programs, as well as their implementation, assess the performance of involved actors, and the relevance and efficacy of measurement framework and management practices.

What is worth mentioning, the ex-durante evaluation results demonstrate an increase in stakeholders’ learning and capacity gains mainly due to the unique possibility of highly relevant discussions and dialogue between various stakeholders that have stimulated critical reflection and learning.

Ex-durante evaluation has provided each pilot with a closer, more critical in-depth look at their Action Plans. It has significantly benefited them, contributing to the quality of their proposed Action Plans and the PoliRural project in general.

Outstanding conclusions:

  • The involvement of key decision-makers in the monitoring mechanisms of the Action Plan is seen as an essential precondition for securing the adoption and successful implementation of Action Plans by several pilot regions;
  • Russian war in Ukraine and its consequences on energy, economy, environmental and social processes has been a new and very influential external factor that pilot regions faced during the reporting period. It has served as a valuable lesson demonstrating how quickly situations may change and that every plan shall be able to adapt and adjust its measures;
  • The results of ex-durante evaluations confirm the positive effects of the evaluation process for the pilot teams. The most considerable effect is related to the analysis of stakeholder engagement, ownership, and capacity gains. Pilots have continued active communication with regional stakeholders involving them in discussions and experiments using tools developed by the PoliRural project. This has resulted in further improved Action Plans, new insights, the increased status of pilot organizations, and capacity gains among the pilot teams.

You can find the full text version of the report here.

PoliRural results and sustainability

As PoliRural draws to a close, it must grapple with one of the most difficult questions in EU projects: how to ensure long-term sustainability? There are different ways to define sustainability. We see it as post-project existence of PoliRural ideas, deliverables and know-how that immediate beneficiaries and the wider public use to achieve their goals. Some of them can be commercial, some policy related. Some may be technical, some scientific or societal. The nature of the exploitation is not so important. What matters is that results are continuously exploited by stakeholders for their own benefit, to help others, or both.

PoliRural’s main results are

  • A network of 500 stakeholders that have provided strong participatory foundation to the innovative foresight framework piloted in 12 regions;
  • A foresight package outlining, for each region 1) a vision, 2) a set of measures that need to be implemented to make rural areas stronger, resilient, better connected, and prosperous, and 3) a roadmap for implementing these measures;
  • A suit of technical tools designed to support regional pilots with different foresight tasks e.g. exploring the impact of proposed measures on regional performance (Policy Options Explorer) and rural attractiveness (Rural Attractiveness Explorer), creating summaries of reading lists and extracting insightful information from them e.g. context, emotions (Semantic Explorer);
  • A collection of reports, guidance documents and methodological notes that capture results of our work, as well as recommendations for others looking to implement regional foresight in a new geographic/thematic context.

In keeping with the principle of open science, we have made all our written outputs available on the project website. These include both official reports and internal deliverables like deep-dive guides on Covid-19, CAP reform, and Green Deal, that users are free to adapt to explore these and other challenges facing their region e.g., energy crisis, cost-of-living crisis, geopolitical crisis. Our approach to regional foresight and the role of different tools in the process is elaborated in a webinar series that are available on our YouTube channel, as well as the PoliRural Digital Innovation which includes links to POE, RAE and Semex.

After several iterations, the foresight package (summarized in D6.2 Regional Action Plans) is now undergoing a process of adoption, facilitated by high-level meetings with policy actors e.g. the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Slovakia, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy in North Macedonia. To ensure that proposed measures get implemented, PoliRural pilots have set up monitoring committees. These are composed of members of the regional stakeholder panel, who will oversee implementation of the plan, thus ensuring continuation of PoliRural results post-project.