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PROVIding smart DElivery of public goods by EU agriculture and forestry

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PROVIDE (PROVIding smart DElivery of public goods by EU agriculture and forestry)

Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2018-08-31

"The objective of the project is to provide a conceptual basis, evidence, tools and improved incentive and policy options to support the ""smart"" provision of public goods (PGs) by the EU agriculture and forestry systems (AFS), in the light of trade-offs and conflicts brought about by prospective intensification scenarios, using a transdisciplinary approach.
PROVIDE considers a wide range of public goods, including the scope for intensification and negative externalities. It addresses the issue in a multi-scale framework working both at the EU level and at case study level in 13 Countries of the EU. The main results of the project are: a renewed (“un-packed”) conceptualization of the notion of public goods; an operational framework to support the smart provision of public goods; a toolbox putting together an inventory/mapping of options, operational means for valuation of public goods and for the evaluation of suitable mechanisms for public goods provision; a selection of improved policy/sector mechanisms; a consolidated and long-lasting community of knowledge and practice.
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The project has started with unpacking the notion of what stakeholders understand by ‘public goods’, a mapping and inventory of public goods and the mechanisms producing such goods, allowing to identify ’hotspots’ for mechanisms and governance mechanism in the provision of public goods. Around these ’hotspots’, valuation exercises have been carried out concerning different public goods, yielding not only values for public goods, but also allowing to build a data base for the analysis of value determinants and several regions and ecosystems. Next, to meet a smart provision of public goods, consistent with the current needs of productivity, bioeconomy strategy and rural development, innovative policy tools and mechanisms have been identified and evaluated under different valuation criteria and context scenarios, in order to identify preferable design options and implementation strategies. The outcomes of these activities have been fed into a framework and a toolbox. All these processes have been co-developed with stakeholders in the Stakeholder and Experts Network of the project; this has involved a network of about 200 people in 52 local and 4 EU-level workshops while a network of over 1500 people has been built on linked-in and Facebook
The initial unpacking of the public good concept by stakeholders showed the diversity of perceptions of public goods related to the very different local specificities, the evolution of global issues (e.g. climate change) and the changing nature of the perceived agenda (e.g. world food needs and resources constraints). This conceptualization will be useful for identifying objectives of governance-making regarding public goods provision.
The mapping of public goods, carried out at the EU level and in 13 Case study regions (CSR) in different countries showed a high diversity in provision also depending on the specific public good considered. Local mapping showed a high variety of information available, with some types of public good benefiting of very good data bases and other suffering from little knowledge. The analysis of this information with stakeholders allowed the identification of about 20 hotspots that represents types of discrepancy between PG demand and supply around 5 main typologies: a) intensive agricultural areas with major trade-offs between resources and intensification processes; b) areas at risk of abandonment; c) areas with strong connection with users from urban areas; d) low intensity-low income areas; e) forestry areas with trade-offs between public goods and timber productions.
The valuation exercises yielded 13 case studies with demand-side exercises and 15 case studies with supply side exercises. Of these 8 demand-side and 7 supply-side studies have been based on survey methods, with around 4400 total questionnaires from farmers and households. The results confirm the positive willingness to pay by citizens for public goods produced by the European agriculture and forestry. The amount that citizens are willing to pay for public goods provision very much differs depending on the public good, but also across areas and groups, showing the importance of segmentation of different demand components. The result also show that the current amount of money devoted by the CAP to public good provision is generally considered as acceptable by EU households (with more than 60% of citizens agreeing with the current expenditure devoted to that aim). The supply side valuation shows high heterogeneity of supply costs, further amplified by the acceptability of different mechanisms. From a methodology perspective, a wide variety of valuation methods has been used, from stated preference methods, multicriteria analysis, revealed preference methods, to cost/benefits accounting. The use of different methods is relevant to elicit advantages and disadvantages of them for the valuation of public goods provided by AFS.
The participatory evaluation of mechanism in 17 case studies revealed 3 main optimisation pathways for governance mechanism: 1) to improve financial incentives; 2) to improve the orchestration of different and better mechanisms in mechanisms mixes; 3) to develop bottom-up approaches such as collective actions and embed them in existing regional network mechanisms such as the LEADER approach. The effectiveness of financial incentives could be particularly enhanced by better targeting, while new and more performance-oriented schemes could replace classic linear area payments (e.g. PES). While financial incentives represent keystones in the governance strategies, the adoption of PG-friendly management strongly depends on supporting instruments, such as collaboration between stakeholder, market driven instruments, education and information and awareness building. Bottom-up approaches, such as collective actions, can have high potential, but they are strongly dependent on the commitment of the partners united under the approach and therefore only recommendable if compliance to the fundamental principles of collaboration are guaranteed.
The activity aimed at the development of a PROVIDE policy support and knowledge transfer tool, initial investigated existing tools and potential functionalities as well as stakeholders and
Local stakeholders workshop in CZ
Map of Pollination services in Europe