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Global experts and decision makers to gather at FAO for policy dialogue

FAO is to hold an International Consultation on Policy Monitoring in Developing Countries at its Rome Headquarters on December 11, 2013 to reaffirm the need for sustained and coordinated monitoring of polices designed to reduce hunger and boost the agricultural sector.

The consultation is being held as part of the United Nations agency’s mission to elevate the role of policy monitoring to achieve food security and agricultural growth. It will bring together high-level policy makers from developing countries and leading global experts to exchange views on the role of policy monitoring in supporting the economic and social development strategies of developing countries.




Background Documents

Making policy count

Policy is a key component of successful agricultural development and improved food security. But how do governments assess if the policies they have implemented, and the expenditure they have allocated to agriculture, are having the desired effect on producers and consumers?

What policy monitoring tools should be used and how can policy dialogue between the government and other agricultural stakeholders become more evidence-based?

Farmers are biggest investors in agriculture, and are therefore the biggest drivers of food security and rural development. They base their investment decisions on government policies, such as the tax regime, subsidies, export duties, which is why governments should get their policies right.

But for governments to make the right decisions, they need evidence. Generating that evidence is not easy for developing country governments where a system is often lacking to gather information and measure policy effects. The International Consultation will discuss how to strengthen policy monitoring and support developing countries’ governments in that endeavour.

Crisis measures

The need for a better understanding of the effect policies have on producers and consumers was brought into stark focus during the 2008 world food crisis. As food prices soared, governments tried to lessen the impact on consumers, whilst maximizing possible benefits for producers, with a range of policy measures.

Some nations tried to protect consumers by announcing a temporary ban on rice exports. Others relaxed import duties to keep prices down for hungry consumers. International agencies took the line that the best way to suppress prices was to increase support to the agriculture sector to help farmers produce more food. Some of the measures adopted worked, others did not. An important lesson learnt was the importance of monitoring policy impact.

However, in developing countries, that is not always so easy. Effective policy monitoring requires capacity in terms of staff and know-how.

December’s International Consultation will start with some of the world’s leading experts in this domain explaining the background and history of policy monitoring, why it is important for developing countries to monitor the effects of their policies, what has already been done in developing countries, the challenges that developing countries face to implement necessary policy reforms and what international institutions can do to support this effort.

High-level policy makers from developing countries will also discuss their experience on policy monitoring in their countries and identify the challenges in data availability and analysis, developing institutional capacities, carrying out evidence-based policy dialogue and implementing policy reforms.

Policy makers, academics and civil society actors interested in taking part in the consultation should send their request to hilary.clarke@fao.org.