5-Länder-Evaluation: What are the effects of financing rural development on agriculture, on environment and well-being in rural areas?


Biodiversity on arable land supported by Rural Development Programmes (c) Thünen-Institut/Manfred Bathke
Orange lilies (lilium bulbiferum) deliver color varieties on arable land. (© Thünen-Institut/Manfred Bathke)

On-going monitoring and evalution of Rural Development Programmes of the Laender Hesse, Lower-Saxony/Bremen, Northrhine-Westfalia and Schleswig-Holstein in the programming period 2014-2020

In cooperation with the Thünen-Institute Farm Economics, the Thünen-Institue of International Forestry and Forest Economics and entera the Thünen-Institute of Rural Studies evaluates rural develpoment programmes and measures within a multi-disciplinary team and approach.

Background and Objective

EU-cofinanced rural development programmes are subject of a systematic evaluation. In the federal system of Germany Laender are responsible for rural development support and therefore for comissioning evaluation studies. The overall evaluation framework is set by the EU. In a interactive process we  operationalise and complement the EU evaluation framework.

The 5 Länder with four Rural Development Programmes (Lower Saxony and Bremen have a joint programme) want to spent 5 billions of Euro until 2020. Most punblic spending is foreseen for enviromental protection, followed by rural development measures.

A wide range of measures is offered with environmental objectives: Ecological farming, cover crops, buffer strips,  management care of biotops, advisory systems and cooperation in nature protection.

We find also a wide range of different measures aiming at rural development: village renewal, village shops, retirement complex or broadband infratstructure.

Pie chart: Priority 4 "Environment" and 6 "Rural development" are main priorities in terms of public spending.
Share of planned public expenditure between 2014 and 2020 dedicated to different EU priorities in four Rural Development Programmes: Priority 4 "Environment" and 6 "Rural development" are main priorities in terms of public spending. (© Thünen-Institut)

Target Group

Main target groups are the EU, the federal and regional level which are financing rural development programmes. Furthermore, evaluation results are aimed to the professional public and cientific community.


We evaluate the rural development programmes regarding their contribution to EU-priorities, the objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy and the EU 2020 strategy.

The EU-Regulation contains six priorities. All measures are linked to one priority. In terms of money spending, priority 4 "Environment" and 6 "Rural development" are the most important priorities.

The evaluation design contains an output and implementation analysis, the assessment of effectivess and efficiency and an impact assessment on measures level as well as on programme level.

Within the first yaers after the starting of the programme, our evaluation is focussed on the elaboration of findings improving the programme performance.

The focus changes with the prgramme status. After programme completion we are looking on the impacts. Depending on the evaluation question we use different methodological approaches (quantitative and qualitative). Our empirical findings are linked the the policy and programme cycle and support programme responsibles to improve measures and programmes.

The Institute of Rural Studies is the leading partner. Main tasks are analyses regarding programme delivery and implementation, enviromental issues, the support of human capital and cooperation activities as well as rural development including the LEADER approach. The Thünen-Institute Farm Economics is responsible for the evaluation of investment support schemes for agriculture and processing industries, while the Thünen-Institue of International Forestry and Forest Economics deals with forestry measures. entera is responsible for biodiversity issues.

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Involved Thünen-Partners

Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • entera
    (Hannover, Deutschland)

Funding Body

  • Bundesland Hessen
    (national, öffentlich)
  • Bundesland Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW)
    (national, öffentlich)
  • Bundesland Niedersachsen
    (national, öffentlich)
  • Bundesland Bremen
    (national, öffentlich)
  • Bundesland Schleswig-Holstein
    (national, öffentlich)
  • European Union (EU)
    (international, öffentlich)


5.2015 - 12.2024

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: ongoing

Publications at Thünen Institute to the project

hits: 1

  1. Tietz A, Grajewski R (2016) Abschnitt VI : EU-Förderung der ländlichen Entwicklung in Deutschland ab 2014: zwischen Kontinuität und Wandel. In: Karl H, Untiedt G (eds) Handbuch der regionalen Wirtschaftsförderung : 67. Lieferung. Köln: Schmidt, p 43