The baseline - Understanding the agricultural/forestry national policy landscape is a key first step for any national and regional policy intervention. The baseline at the commencement of the Project was that it was not easily determinable as to which countries had national level agricultural policies, its status and what the priorities were for the sector. Similarly, it was also not known as to what commodities and issues – in a documented way - were common to the region. The same approach was applied in undertaking a gap analysis of the availability and quality of agricultural statistics across member countries.
Provision of Regional Support for Agriculture Forestry Policy Development & Analysis
The Project undertook a series of activities over the last 12 months which collectively, is aimed at strengthening policy development through a structured approach for national and regional interventions planned by the project, other partners and Governments themselves. These deliverables include:
(i) Completion of a comprehensive baseline analysis of National-level agricultural policies of the 15 PAPP countries that provide a summary of common regional priorities, issues and opportunities. The result is a document of common priorities across the region and establishing quickly what gaps
(ii) Completion and dissemination of a new Regional Inventory of Agricultural Policy that provides a stocktake of what policies exist for each PIC. This is already providing a structure as to how SPC-PAPP, FAO, development partners and countries are identifying specific assistance (see Table 1);
(iii) Establishment of new Agricultural Policy Banks for 15 PAPP countries aimed at increasing public access to policy documents. This exciting initiative, to be launched nationally from Quarter 3, 2015 will for the first time allow easy public access to key national and regional agricultural documents
(iv) A Gap Analysis completed for Agricultural statistics soon to be published on PAFPnet. This is already providing a structure as to how SPC, FAO and countries are identifying specific assistance
(v) Strengthened support for National Minimum Development Indicators (NMDI) aimed at providing clear datasets to assist policy formulation. This is providing already available datasets in an easier way to complement policy development. It is aimed that NMDIs will be integrated into at least 3 new national policies.
A consultant was engaged by PAPP to produce a Regional Inventory that would contain a listing of “national-level” sector policies, its status and plans and strategies in place for implementing these policies in the 15 PICs.
This is the first Inventory of its kind and has already provided a useful tool for bilateral engagement under PAPP or donor assistance and also a platform for a comparative analysis within and outside the region
Agriculture & Food Security National Minimum Development Indicators
Ensuring that data is disseminated in a clear and effective manner is just as important as the creation of data in the first place. Consequently, PAPP has commenced work on strengthening the National Minimum Development Indicators (NMDIs) on agriculture and forestry on SPC’s regional information portal and including indicators on food security. The outcome of this work will be ensuring up-to-date and easily accessible headline indicators (i.e. percentage of GDP from agriculture or percentage of labour force in agriculture) are available to inform national policy and research.
Key results thus far include:
• Draft guidelines produced on improving the calculation of agriculture NMDIs and data collected (in line with the new methodology) for Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Palau;
• Background paper produced on indicators for a regional Food Security Framework and a database collected of recommended indicators for inclusion into the NMDI database.
• Conducting an update of the agricultural NMDIs has taken longer than originally anticipated. The initial review of the indicators revealed that the metadata and calculation methodology for the indicators needed to be made clearer and brought more closely into line with international FED/2013/314-664This process therefore required consultation with statistical experts on each of the indicators.
• Collecting the data is also often a lengthy exercise since not all of the data is available online and requires correspondence with the relevant national statistics offices.
Integration of Cost-Benefit Analysis into Government Project Management Procedures
PAPP supports the Pacific Cost-Benefit Analysis (P-CBA) Initiative that is a collaborative programme with SPREP, GIZ, UNDP, USAID and USP. It aims to increase the use of economic tools, such as Cost-Benefit Analysis, to improve government planning and evaluation of natural resource projects and programmes. The key objective of PAPP’s support is to integrate the curriculum and delivery of the training into regional institutions to ensure greater regularity and sustainability of training in this area. Key results achieved thus far include:
Training on Cost-Benefit Analysis conducted in Samoa (November 2014), Vanuatu (November 2014) and Fiji (April 2015) with more than 100 participants from the government and civil sector. The training comprises of a half-day course aimed at policy makers and a two and a half day more in-depth course aimed at technicians. Evaluation of the training suggests significant improvements in participants understanding of key concepts of CBA, following the training (see section on monitoring and evaluation).
Agricultural Census in Federated States of Micronesia
A key deliverable for PAPP is to support agricultural censuses and surveys in the region. Agricultural censuses are currently done in an ad-hoc fashion across the Pacific according to funding availability rather than need. In FSM, there has been no agriculture census since the 1960’s despite the fact that agriculture is estimated to contribute 15% to GDP.
PAPP has worked with the FAO and the FSM government to conduct stakeholder consultations within FSM leading to a draft technical cooperation agreement for FSM for an agricultural census. The draft agreement is due to be signed and initial activities to start in August 2015. Conducting an agricultural census is a resource intensive activity and will be conducted throughout the remainder of the PAPP. The results of the survey will however be important for FSM’s understanding of how agriculture contributes to their economic growth and development. It is therefore expected to provide benefits far beyond the lifetime of PAPP.