Welcome to this last day of our online dialogue, which will be moderated by me, Carina, and my colleague Ernesto, together with Quentin de Roquefeuil from ECDPM. Today we will discuss the challenging issue of measuring PCD.
Our experience in promoting PCD has highlighted the need for identifying and setting concrete objectives – such as coherence for improving food security – as well as methods to measure progress towards PCD, and motivate policy makers and other stakeholders to take coherent action. A key challenge when developing tools to measure progress in PCD is to identify or develop indicators that can capture the impact of policies when causes and effects are not always identifiable.
As part of our efforts to advance in the PCD measurement agenda, we are working to identify existing monitoring and measurement tools of policies, process and effects on key global issues. In the area of global food security, existing OECD tools could help identify spill-over policies (market distorting policies) and quantify the incidence of policies or policy effort. These tools could also help to identify factors that may contribute (enablers) to or hinder (disablers) development.
For example, the OECD has for more than 20 years provided internationally recognised measures of support and protection in agriculture for its member countries. Monitoring the composition of that support over time shows that countries have reduced the share of total support that is most trade-distorting, from an average of 30% of gross farm receipts in the mid-90s to less than 20% at the beginning of the 2010s. This is good for OECD countries and good for development!
- In which other areas (besides looking at support and protection in agriculture) we should focus on to inform policy-making and motivate different stakeholders to take actions towards food security?
- What do you think about the OECD initiative for measuring progress in PCD? Do you know other initiatives or experiences?
We look forward to hearing your views.
Good morning everyone,
I’m glad to be co-moderator for today.
I agree with Carina that setting concrete objectives and measuring progress against a set of indicators is a key part of promoting PCD. It’s certainly not easy, but that does not mean we should not try.
Agricultural support and market access questions are relatively straightforward and consensual candidates for PCD monitoring. Apart from those, I could think of other policies like energy (think of the recent controversy over EU biofuel policy and “land grabs”) or intellectual property rights, but they are a lot less consensual in terms of actual impact on developing countries. Coherence is sometimes in the eye of the beholder!
Like Carina I’d be interested to see what participants to this online dialogue would suggest as important policies to keep on eye on for PCD monitoring in the OECD.
Good Morning, This is Kumiko Nada again from Japanese Delegation to the OECD. Regarding the question 2 “ What do you think about the OECD initiative for measuring progress in PCD?”, we are supportive of the development of PCD indicators to monitor progress and assess the impact of diverse policies on development. However, if existing OECD indicators are used as proxy indicators for PCD, an analysis to link the indicators with the PCD concept is needed: i) identifying factors that may contribute to or hinder development ii) selecting the appropriate indicators from the existing OECD indicators that can monitor such contribution or hindrance. Through such an analysis, the OECD can identify existing indicators for policy efforts which could be used as PCD indicators as well. The analysis requires knowledge both of specific policy areas (policy specialists may not have much knowledge on development issues) and development (development experts may lack knowledge on specific policy areas).
Thank you for joining the dialogue again today - we appreciate your inputs!
The initiative to look at policy effort to assess coherence is at its early stage. Indeed, thourough analysis to identify indicators and linking them to various enabling (or disabling) environments will be needed. As an initial step, we have sent out a survey to Natinal PCD Focal Points, asking them for feedback and to suggest next steps.
As you know, the OECD Strategy on Development has identified the three priority areas of global food security; green growth; and illicit financial flows, so the identification of indicators will begin in these areas. We will keep you informed as this work progresses.
Having read the interesting contributions today, I would like to make a modest contribution myself in relation to the indicator plans and Quentin's comments on 'coherence being in the eye of the beholder'. Based on my own research in the area, I'm tempted to conclude that it is key to 'look the beholder in the eye' and that indicators have no purpose on their own but can only serve the measurement of clear objectives.
Discussions on the effects of OECD policies on global development unfortunately are frequently weakened by a double unambiguity of lack of clarity on what kind of effects are desirable or undesirable (i.e. 'what is development') as well as on what 'developing countries' are (i.e. a self-assigned status and a diverse group of countries ranging from Mauritius to China to South-Sudan). Without clear objectives and a confirmed level of ambition, which is no technical task but should be politically endorsed, debates on coherence (including in this area) can lead to discussions that feature the usual combination of ideological prejudices on what is good for all countries combined with 'all countries are different'. Not a very logical combination in fact.
More thematically oriented discussions like this week's on food security therefore play an important role in further concretising and giving direction to the more general and process-related commitment to promoting Policy Coherence for Development as reflected in OECD recommendations and various political statement such as adopted in the UN and the European Union. I believe it would therefore be good to look into ways to present the results to the relevant thematic political fora to gain clarity on what impacts are sought and what harm should be avoided with OECD policies, so as to further guide information collection, learning and action.
As relevant to this discussion, here is a paper that I have written with Michael King of the University of Dublin on how a monitoring mechanism can be envisaged for measuring the effects of the Common Agricultural Policy in developing countries: http://www.odi.org.uk/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/7892.pdf
German Development Institute
Dear participants and colleagues,
Thank you for your interesting inputs! I think that you are absolutely right to highlight the need to develop PCD indicators to measure progress in PCD.
Although the argument for better PCD makes intuitive sense and has widely been recognized by governments all over the world, researchers and organisations, including the OECD, it is very difficult to be certain that a particular policy change in both developing and developed countries can result in positive development outcomes. In my opinion, a great challenge is related to attributing causality to specific features of policy in complex development processes that are subject to many other forces, not only considering the effects of policies in OECD countries but also identifying specific causalities of policy decisions in partner countries.
I agree with Kumiko that the analysis requires knowledge of specific policy areas and themes such as ICTs, food security, green growth and illicit financial flows or PCD in the context of fragile states and international security challenges can produce generalizable findings and policy recommendations for developing and developed countries.
As Kumiko also said, PCD analysis requires also more knowledge on development. Quentin’s comment “Coherence is sometimes in the eye of the beholder!” is very true and shocking at the same time in that regard. In my personal opinion, it underlines one of the major PCD challenges and stresses the need for comprehensive PCD indicators because without empirical evidence of the impacts of selected policies in a particular developing country political decisions may lack analytical validity due to their over-reliance on basic assumptions (even though impact assessments are very case specific, so that it is difficult to draw overall conclusions. They could therefore be complementary to the analysis of efforts in specific policy areas).
I think that a major problem is, that assumptions and ideological considerations of “development” underlying to the concept of PCD are not universally agreed. The MDGs can be seen as a great success towards establishing international consensus in that regard. At the same time, the current debate about the Post-2015 agenda shows the difficulties of creating a comprehensive framework of sustainable development goals. Therefore, without a clear idea on development goals and targets it is even more challenging to establish indicators.
I would be very interested in your ideas and thoughts about these challenges.
Dear Participants and colleagues,
In this final day of the online dialogue I would like to thank all of you for your very substantive and informative comments.
I could not agree more with Carina and Quentin, setting PCD objectives associated with targets and indicators is fundamental to stimulate action and help key stakeholders to make evidence-based decisions.
Given that this online dialogue will feed into:
- The European Development Days 2013 (EDD) “lab discussion on “Global food security and policy coherence for development: A multi-stakeholder approach” (http://eudevdays.eu/topics/global-food-security-and-policy-coherence-development) on 27 Noveber in Brussels.
I would like to make emphasis on the first question posted by Carina and hear from you on what areas would you like to bring to the attention of the panellists and audience of the EDD to stimulate action?
Throughout of these days of online dialogue we have heard from different participants about a wide range of issues that in their view require greater attention. Issues mentioned include:
- Fostering smallholder farming (Jeske, Day 2);
- Ensuring water security (Setella, Day 2) and subsidies that have negative impacts on water, as in the case of energy subsidies for groundwater abstraction by farmers (Carina, Day 2)
- Arable land and nutrients needed to maintain fertility of soil; land tenure and complex property rights linked to it (Tina, Day 2)
- Access to services by smallholder farmers
- Technology transfer
- Long -term investment
- Coherence of agricultural policy in developing countries (including seed and fertilizer programs)
- An enabling framework for responsible public and private investment in agriculture (Bettina, Day 3)
- Production and consumption patterns (Paolo, Day 3)
- Access to clean drinking water, as well as roads and electrical grids (Karl-Axel, Day 3)
- Food security in urban areas
- Good governance, such as accountability, transparency and relevant expertise
- Communication technology
How can we articulate all these issues in a balanced and coherent manner to define more specific PCD objectives and targets towards food security?
How can we ensure coherence between PCD international / regional objectives and national contexts?
We look forward to hearing from you.
Dear Participants, dear Guests, dear Co-moderators,
On behalf of the OECD PCD Unit, I would like to thank you very, very much for having participated in this online dialogue and for having shared your views and ideas on policy coherence and global food security.
We are going to feed in your comments into our work on PCD and food security, and we will also present them at the European Development Days in Brussels next Wednesday.
We will post you the power point presentation I will give during the lab, as well as a more detailed recap of the past five days soon.
With best regards from the whole PCD Unit,