Result-based approach supporting policy integration at landscape level

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Many Flemish rural municipalities that possess valuable natural areas, are facing high land pressures, mostly due to their proximity to major urban nodes and ever increasing urban sprawl. This pressure often means those municipalities are subjected to numerous overlapping, sometimes incoherent or competing sectoral policy objectives impacting their landscape. These policy objectives reflect the large range of societal needs and demands for ecosystem services (and other needs and demands…) in rural landscapes in the urban fringe. Simultaneously, rural municipalities and family sized farms operating in those municipalities have pinpointed administrative overload and sometimes conflicting policy objectives as a key bottlenecks. Policy integration at landscape scale has therefore been identified as a key priority to relieve undercapacitated/understaffed rural municipalities and family farms facing numerous market and environmental challenges.

Using examples from case studies in Flanders within the Contracts 2.0 project, we show that a switch from action-based contracts towards result based agri-environmental measures/contracts, combined with a co-creative and participatory approach including governmental agencies together with local stakeholders to construct a common landscape vision, helps to foster this policy integration. For example, the use of scoreboards to integrate and quantify otherwise generic landscape objectives helps to establish a structured, locally relevant dialogue among policymakers that sets the baseline for further policy integration. This example also suggests that policy integration can be improved even when policy domains are mostly sectorally organized, without requiring an intrusive (and arguably hard to achieve in the short term) governance shift towards new governmental agencies with broader mandates to supersede or steer sectoral agencies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 14-Oct-2022

Thematic List 2020

  • Agriculture


  • decision making instruments

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