Evaluation of policy transfer interventions: lessons from a Dutch-Romanian planning project

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The transfer of environmental knowledge from one country to another is a widespread practice. This paper presents an evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness of projects that involve such a transfer. It focuses on project-based interventions that are supported by actors of the transferring country. The developed framework is based on the recognition that policy transfer interventions are multi-actor processes and are, therefore, best understood as processes of social interaction. Whether such processes contribute to goal achievement depends on the engagement of users in the process. We further argue that the realization of ultimate outcomes can be estimated or explained on the basis of changes in the characteristics of actors involved. The framework is applied to a Dutch-funded project on flood risk planning in Romania. The ultimate goal of this intervention was to contribute to the solving of water-related problems in Romania and to generate follow-up projects for the Dutch water sector. Central to the project was the active involvement of regional stakeholders in the development of regional spatial plans. Application of the framework shows that the case study is unlikely to contribute to the realization of the desired ultimate outcomes. Process explanations include poor institutional embedding, limited diffusion of project results and a lack of adaptive management. The active involvement of local and regional stakeholders created a shared motivation and knowledge base. However, the project got stuck due to a lack of resources as actors with decision-making power were not involved and ignored the project results
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-160
JournalJournal of environmental policy and planning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • METIS-279321
  • IR-80902


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