By implementing the PoliRural project, the Vidzeme Planning Region had the opportunity to look at regional development planning differently. We dare to say that this is the first time such in-depth stakeholder engagement has been carried out in Latvia during the development planning process. For such an approach, the Vidzeme Planning Region has already received a positive local, regional and national acknowledgment. Open and wide-engaging approach was chosen using the knowledge and methodology accumulated during the implementation of the PoliRural project. Results of ex-durante evaluation that was carried out at the end of the PoliRural project confirm that broad stakeholder involvement has played a key role in the development of quality regional planning documents and securing their implementation. The ex-durante evaluation process was essential to identifying success factors and challenges and things that should be improved to run the strategic planning process even more smoothly.

The Vidzeme ex-durante evaluation report acknowledges that stakeholders` engagement was successful. It is evidenced by the high trust of stakeholders towards the results of the foresight process resulting in apparent spill-over effects of the foresight process and a high level of utility of the Regional Development program by other actors in strategic development processes at a municipal and local level.

At the same time, the stakeholders’ sense of ownership is also strengthened. Stakeholders have more clearly realized their potential role in the program implementation. Still, additional communication efforts are needed to reach such groups of stakeholders as entrepreneurs and public administration representatives.

PoliRural activities have initiated good and strong cooperation at the local level for joint regional development. It is necessary to use the opportunity and strengthen the established relationships in joint implementation of the Regional Development program. Learning and skills are essential for future activities, enhancing stakeholders` capacities and capabilities and getting new insights on building alternative visions and scenarios together.

D6.3. Ex-Durante evaluation report – Vidzeme Pilot

At the end of project activities, an important milestone is to evaluate what has been done. For this purpose, project partners from Latvia jointly prepared an Ex-Durante report (D6.3, available here). This report reflects the results of the ex-durante evaluation process of the Regional Action Plan developed by the Vidzeme pilot team. The primary purpose of the ex-durante evaluation was to document the progress made, review the involvement of main stakeholders, and identify the first indications of intervention effects.

Ex-durante evaluation report is structured in five main sections describing: 1) the context and needs of the evaluation; 2) progress of interventions and estimated contribution to the key EU missions; 3) measurement of policy changes and testing the relevance and measurability of the measurement framework; 4) assessment of performance and engagement of stakeholders involved in the foresight process and development of the Regional Action Plan; and 5) conclusions and recommendations for the future steering decisions.

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