What is an ex post evaluation?
The ex post evaluation is a summative evaluation conducted after the completion of policy interventions to demonstrate the achievements of policy objectives, policy impacts and results to stakeholders and general public, increase the policy transparency and to learn how to do policy better in the future. It is conducted at a point where it is possible to assess impacts and the added value of the programme funding, both at EU and programme level.
The ex post evaluation is a policy learning tool, which enables to use the evaluation results to improve the design, quality and implementation of the policy in the future. Utilising evaluation in policy design, via drawing relevant conclusions and lessons, is an important aspect of evidence-based policymaking. Even though the ex post evaluation is conducted at the end of a programming period, when the new policy is already designed and partly implemented, it has an important role in bridging the old and new programming periods. Relevant information and recommendations can be used to improve the implementation of the new programme, especially for measures which continue across programming periods.
Legal basis for conducting and the timing of the ex post evaluation
Article 78 of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 obliges the Member States to carry out an ex post evaluation for each of their rural development programmes, and Article 79 of the same regulation requires for the Commission to undertake a synthesis at Union level of the ex post evaluation reports.
The transitional regulation, requires Member States to submit an ex post evaluation report for each of the Rural Development Programmes, by end of 2026. The syntheses of the evaluation reports shall be completed at the latest by 31 December of the year following the submission of the relevant evaluations.
Legal basis on the scope of evaluation including ex post
What are the common elements to carry out the ex post evaluation of RDPs?
The following figure shows the intervention logic for Pillar II including the general objectives, the priorities, and the focus area.
Figure 1: Intervention logic for Pillar II
The CMES for Pillar II ensures that a common evaluation approach is applied across the RDPs and by all Member States, that progress and achievements of the rural development policy are demonstrated and assessed, taking into account the policy´s impact, effectiveness, efficiency and relevance (see Implementing Regulation (EU) No 834/2014).All 30 Common Evaluation Questions (CEQ)- as in the enhanced AIR submitted in 2019 - should be answered by the Member States. The Commission places particular emphasis on the quantification of the common indicators, including the Complementary Result Indicators (CRI).
Additional programme-specific evaluation questions / evaluation criteria may arise from the involvement of the Recovery Fund and possibly from new measures included in the programme or also with regard to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Figure 2: Common evaluation questions and corresponding CMES common indicators
Resources to help better prepare and conduct the ex post evaluation for the programming period 2014-2020
|Evaluation Helpdesk guidelines to support the ex post evaluation|
|Title||Relevance for the ex post evaluation 2014-2020||CEQ covered|
|Guidelines: Assessing RDP achievements and impacts in 2019||
Offers methodological support for assessing the common impact indicators of Pilar II (sectoral, environmental and socio-economic impacts). This guidance explains each intervention logic, the use of additional evaluation elements, explains the data requirements, the units of assessment and guides the reader through choosing the most appropriate evaluation approaches for netting out the RDP’s contributions to the values of the CAP impact indicators. Furthermore, Part II also suggests approaches to assess RDP contributions towards achieving the EU 2020 strategy and innovation.
Contains the fiches for answering the CEQs 22–30.
Contains a technical annex including more detailed information on the approaches to assess the CAP impact indicators.
Contains a glossary of terms.
|Guidelines Assessment of RDP results: how to prepare for reporting on evaluation in 2017 (separate Annex 11)||This document contains updated fiches for Complementary Result Indicators No 13, 14, 15, 18 and 19 and updated fiches for answering Common Evaluation Questions 11–14 for RDPs 2014-2020||1-21|
|Updated fiches for answering Common Evaluation Questions 4 and 6 for RDPs 2014-2020||This document includes the updated fiches for answering Common Evaluation Questions 4 and 6 for the ex post evaluation of RDPs 2014-2020. These fiches have been updated by providing a non-exhaustive list of possible additional evaluation elements that Managing Authorities and evaluators may consider when preparing and conducting the assessment of competitiveness in agriculture.||4 and 6|
|Guidelines Evaluation of LEADER/CLLD||Explains how to assess the primary and secondary contributions of LEADER/CLLD towards the rural development focus areas.||17|
|Interactive decision tools for impact indicators||These Interactive Decision Tools can support in the selection of possible methods to be used based on the data available for the indicators selected.||22-30|
|Guidelines Evaluation of innovation in RDPs 2014-2020||Provides information on the assessment of the RDP contributions to the EU’s 2020 headline target investing 3% of the EU’s GDP in research and development and innovation and of the RDP contribution to innovation and on answering of CEQ 23 and 30.||1, 2, 3 and 23|
|Additional resources for the ex post evaluation|
|Title||Relevance for the ex post evaluation 2014-2020||CEQ covered|
|Target indicator fiches for Pillar II (Priority I and II)||Shows for each indicator the links to the respective priority and focus area, the definition and unit of measurement, the methodology for its calculation, data needs and sources, the frequency of collection and the means of transmission to the European Commission.||1-5|
|Complementary result indicators fiches for Pillar II||Contains similar guidance for each of the complementary result indicators.||1-21|
|Context indicators fiches||45 CAP common context indicators (divided into 3 groups – socio-economic, sectorial, and environmental) reflect relevant aspects of the general contextual trends in the economy, environment and society. These are likely to have an influence on the implementation, achievements and performance of the CAP. Indicator factsheets contain a description of definitions, methodology and data sources.||22, 23, 24, 25, 30|
|Impact indicators fiches for Pillar II||Contains similar guidance for each impact indicator.||22-30|
|GPW: Assessing Environmental Effect of Rural Development Programmes: Practical solutions for the ex post evaluation 2007-2013||The aim of the workshop was to facilitate an exchange between Member States with regard to their practical challenges in assessing RDP’s environmental results and impacts in the context of the ex post evaluation 2013-2020. Lesson learned can be applied for the ex post in the current period.||8-15, 26 and 28|
|GPW: Methods for assessing impacts of Rural Development Programmes 2007-13: Practices and solutions for the ex post evaluation||This workshop looked at lessons from the past programming period 2007-2013 ex post evaluations. Lessons can be carried over to the current period.||22-30|
|GPW: Approaches to assess socio-economic and sector related RDP impacts in 2019||This workshop showed and discussed practical examples of evaluation approaches for assessing the socio-economic and sector related CAP Pillar II impact indicators and for answering the related Common Evaluation Questions (CEQ) which can be used for the ex post.||22, 25, 27 and 29|
|GPW: Approaches to assess environmental RDP impacts in 2019||This workshop showed and discussed practical examples of evaluation approaches for assessing the environmental related CAP Pillar II impact indicators and for answering the related Common Evaluation Questions (CEQ), which can be used for the ex post.||8-15, 26 and 28|
|GPW: How to demonstrate RDP achievements and impacts: lessons learned from the evaluations reported in the AIR 2019||The purpose of this Good Practice Workshop is to examine the experiences from the evaluations reported in the AIR 2019 and draw lessons learned for the ex post.||All CEQs|
|GPW: Assessment of resource efficiency and climate||The overall objective of this workshop was to reflect on experiences in relation to the assessment of resource efficiency and climate, with a view to preparing for the ex post evaluation of RDPs 2014-2020.||8-15, 26 and 28|
|GPW: Assessing the contribution of RDPs to a competitive and viable agricultural sector||This workshop had the overall objective to reflect on experiences in relation to assessing the contributions of RDPs to a competitive and viable agricultural sector. Experiences can be used for the ex post evaluation.||4 -6, 9, 11-15, 27 and 28|
|Percentage/share of rural population benefiting from new or improved services/infrastructures (2014-2020)||This document specifically highlights issues related to the use of the common result/target indicator ‘Percentage of rural population benefiting from new or improved services/infrastructures (ICT)’ to measure the achievements under the Focus Areas (FA) 6B (Result/Target Indicators R23/T22) and 6C (Result/Target Indicators R25/T24) in the 2014-2020 programming period.||18-19|
|Jobs creation in rural areas (2014-2020)||This document highlights issues related to the use of the common result/target indicator ‘Jobs created in supported projects’ to measure the achievements under the Focus Areas (FA) 6A (Result Indicator R21 and Target Indicator T20) and 6B (Result Indicator R24 and Target Indicator T23) in the 2014-2020 programming period.||16, 17, 22, 25 and 29|
|Reporting on net contributions of socio-economic impact indicators||This document examines issue related to reporting from the AIR 2019 on net contributions of socio-economic impact indicators and can be useful for improving for the ex post.||22, 23 and 29|
|Quantification of LEADER/CLLD contributions and measuring their secondary effects||This document specifically highlights issues related to the
quantification of LEADER/CLLD contributions and measuring their secondary effects in the 2014-2020
|Best Use of FADN for the Assessment of RDP Effects on Fostering the Competitiveness in Agriculture||This document provides
examples from various Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) and describes what should be considered when using FADN data for the assessment of RDP effects on fostering competitiveness in agriculture and when answering the related common evaluation questions.
|4-6, and 27|
|Evaluating RDP effects on the competitiveness of agriculture in a changing context||This document addresses challenges in preparing and conducting the assessment of RDP impacts in the ex post evaluation. These impacts may have been influenced by multiple intervening, confounding or external factors related to a changing socio-economic, environmental, or even (as recently experienced) health context that at the same time influences the programmes intended effects.||4-6, and 27|
|Examples of evaluation elements for the assessment of RDP effects on competitiveness of agriculture||This document aims to facilitate the exchange and learning from current practices with a view to support
Member States in preparing for the ex post evaluation of RDPs 2014-2020. It complements Annex 11
of the Helpdesk Guidelines 'Assessment of RDP results: How to prepare for reporting on questions for
rural evaluation in 2017'.
|4-6, and 27|
|Europe 2020 strategy targets’ information by Member State||Eurostat regularly updates the information on the national targets to meet the Europe 2020 strategy´s headline targets per Member State.||22, 23, 24, 25, 30|
|Working Paper Common evaluation questions for Rural Development Programmes 2014-2020||Explains the purpose and use of common evaluation questions in the CMES. It describes the different types of evaluation questions and lists the judgment criteria and common and additional indicators for the CEQs 1 – 21.||All CEQs|
|Capturing the success of your RDP: Guidelines for the ex post evaluation of 2007-2013 RDPs||Contains explanations for carrying out the ex post evaluation from the previous programming period, but can still be used as a framework concerning the IL, EQs and other parts of the evaluation process for the current ex post evaluation of RDPs 2014-2020.||All CEQs|
|Working document ‘Evaluation-related Queries’||Can help to clarify specific questions on evaluation questions asked by Member States for the ex post||All CEQs|
|Evaluation Helpdesk Factsheets||These factsheet provide case studies on various topics which can be beneficial for the ex post.||All CEQs|
 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 808/2014, Annex V