CAPACITY BUILDING ON POLICY ADVOCACY
ESSEDRA project seeks to build the long term-capacities of its partners to analyse relevant reforms and to advocate and engage with governments at regional, national and European levels. EFNCP’s formal role in the project is to provide capacity building on advocacy and policy engagement, with a special focus on the accession process and on knowledge transfer from the newest EU Member States.
EFNCP’s capacity building work on policy advocacy has included a combination of ‘learning by doing’; targeted policy advocacy training; presentation and discussion of the various policy options for partners as well as the synthesis of policy findings and the development of policy positions on the EU accession process which would promote sustainable agriculture and effective rural development.
Learning by doing
EFNCP developed policy questionnaires both for the background desk study of the status of key aspects of policy in the ESSEDRA countries and for the field research into typical products and the low-intensity systems in which they are produced. The main idea of the policy questionnaires is to facilitate and guide ESSEDRA partners, focusing their efforts and attention during the data collection and reporting phases.
The background review questionnaire focused on the existing national agriculture and rural development policy frameworks and processes. Thus, partners were encouraged to search for specific information about the status of various policies at national level. This improved their policy research skills in a practical and interactive manner. Since much of the requested information in not readily available in official reports, ESSEDRA partners are thus also encouraged to engage in policy dialogue with officials, experts and/or other CSOs working in the field.
The ESSEDRA partners then engaged in field research to identify endangered traditional and local foods and agricultural products. This work provided an excellent opportunity for partners to understand farmers’ perspectives on policy-relevant issues at local level – how the theoretical principles and assumptions of laws and guidelines work out in practice in the real world of farming and farmers. The farm-level policy questionnaire aims to guide ESSEDRA partners as they conduct their interviews with farmers on the field, helping them to extract specific policy-relevant information from farmers who are producing traditional foods.
EU food hygiene Regulations and 'slow' cheese production - principle and practice
Policy advocacy training for ESSEDRA partners
Policy advocacy training was carried out in November 2013 to reflect on partners’ experience and the findings of their field research and to streamline a joint policy advocacy strategy. As well as all the ESSEDRA partners, the training event was attended by associate partners and other experts with whom they work. The aims of the event was to:
- Understand the farm-specific policy-related issues facing small-scale farmers and the producers of artisan food, as identified during the field research, including the technical terms used to describe them;
- Exchange policy-related experience between project partners and to learn from each other;
- Address the issues raised through participatory, interactive training methods;
- Provide a solid basis for networking on policy issues between project partners and with their associate partners.
Policy advocacy options for the ESSEDRA partnership
EFNCP produced a summary working document, which outlines the advocacy options for 2014 and beyond. The working document presents the policy-relevant findings of the field research and partners’ preferences for policy advocacy actions, as identified in 2013; discusses the timeframe for implementing the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPARD – the EU funding programme in this policy field) and the expected strengths and weaknesses of various possible modes involvement in them by partners; and explains the level of commitment and type of input which can be expected from EFNCP on each specific policy advocacy action.
The policy advocacy 2014 working document served as the basis not only for ESSEDRA policy actions in 2014 but also for the development of policy actions for the second phase of the project.