Lessons from the ENRD
What has worked less well at EU level
Key aspects of the ENRD structure that have worked less well include:
- The ENRD’s formal and somewhat rigid structures (Coordination Committee, LEADER Sub-Committee and Thematic Working Groups) have at times prevented the engagement of a wider group of stakeholders and rural development practitioners in some activities.
- It continues to be a challenge to ‘internalise’ the ENRD within DG AGRI. This includes the challenge of fully and effectively engaging with the geographical / horizontal units in order to have them recognise the potential benefits of both the European and Member State Networks as a support structure and complement to their day-to-day work.
- The principle of shared management for EAFRD implementation imposes a limited mandate and/or possibilities of ENRD support structures to directly engage with, and/or provide direct support to, individual NSUs and MAs and has allowed gaps in knowledge collection, exchange and cooperation to develop, thereby limiting the potential impact of European initiatives.
- There has been a clear lack of mechanisms, or a mandate, to develop through the NRNs an effective dialogue between European and Member State regional networks. This has meant that dialogue and information available at European level is not sufficiently shared or disseminated beyond the national level, thereby limiting the impact of some European activities.
Key aspects of ENRD activities that have worked less well include:
- The lack of a clear intervention logic, hierarchy of objectives and performance criteria to evaluate the effectiveness or otherwise of ENRD activities, results and impacts.
- The lack of engagement of some stakeholder groups in ENRD activities due to lack of capacity, resources and/or commitment / interest has resulted in less knowledge generation and fewer outcomes than originally anticipated for some initiatives.
- Variability in the resourcing of NRNs / NSUs by different Member States has often led to problems of coordination and participation at EU level. This has often been further compounded by
- lack of continuity in terms of NSU staff participation / availability;
- limited technical capacity, and / or;
- limited access to appropriate technical support to effectively support or deliver core networking functions and actively participate in and / or contribute to EU level networking activities.