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Supporting evidence-based decision making for agricultural programs and policies in Uruguay

Montevideo, 24 – 28 October, 2016 – As part of Uruguay’s work on formulating a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for the agriculture sectors, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Production and Fisheries (MGAP) organized a four day outreach activity in Montevideo to present its impact assessment strategy to other stakeholders in the country. The Minister, Tabaré Aguerre, has prioritized the systematic evaluation of interventions deployed by the MGAP. During the activity, Verónica Durán, the Coordinator of Policy Evaluation at MGAP, presented the work done by the Office of Agricultural Programming and Policies. A team of economists, agronomists and anthropologists has been working for the last two years in the application of a mixture of quantitative and qualitative tools for impact assessment of interventions in agriculture in Uruguay.

The activity was supported by the NAP-Ag Programme, a collaborative initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded by Germany´s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) through its Climate Initiative (IKI). Dr. Ali Akram (FAO) and Dr. Babatunde Abidoye (UNDP) were invited to present the methodological aspects of impact assessments and their experience during the evaluation of interventions in different fields. 

A diverse audience from various ministries, research and academic institutions and divisions of the MGAP participated in the event. 

During the four days, a capacity development workshop was held, focusing on concepts and methods of impact assessments geared towards professionals presently working on impact assessments. Dr. Abidoye and Dr. Akram shared their experience in impact assessment of public interventions in various settings. 

Other sessions combined lectures and discussions about national and international cases of impact assessment. Participants discussed best practices of impact evaluation, theory of change, indicators and advantages of different methods. There were fruitful exchanges about the value of designing an intervention around the tools to be used to evaluate its effectiveness and impact. Actual cases were discussed and ideas were exchanged in relation to what the ideal procedures are for an effective ex-post evaluation.  

This technical workshop served as an opportunity for integrating impact evaluation in the design of programmes and actions focused on mitigation of greenhouse gases emissions and adaptation to climate variability and climate change at the MGAP. The outreach activity received excellent feedback from the participants, as there were lively discussions about the need to take into account impact assessments during the initial phases of project design.

The Agricultural Sustainability and Climate Change Unit of the MGAP leads the NAP-Ag process in Uruguay. Through capacity building activities, it searches to strengthen and integrate evidence-based methods for decision-making in national planning processes that increase adaptation to climate change in the agricultural sectors.

Dr. Akram is an Environmental Economist, professor at the University of Yale and a FAO international expert. He has academic and professional experience on impact evaluation of diverse public policies in different countries. Dr. Abidoye is a Development Economist, and professor of the University of Pretoria. He has over fifteen years of experience in economic analysis and evaluation for UNDP, including the Ecosystem Based Adaptation project and the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation Programme (ECCA). He has recently worked with UNDP on impact assessments in more than 11 African countries.