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Normative, systemic and procedural aspects: a review of indicator-based sustainability assessments in agriculture


Binder, C R; Feola, G (2010). Normative, systemic and procedural aspects: a review of indicator-based sustainability assessments in agriculture. In: OECD Workshop on Agri-Environmental Indicators, Leysin, CH, 23 March 2010 - 26 March 2010, Online.

Abstract

Several methods for assessing the sustainability of agricultural systems
have been developed. These methods do not fully: (i) take into account the
multi-functionality of agriculture; (ii) include multidimensionality; (iii)
utilize and implement the assessment knowledge; and (iv) identify
conflicting goals and trade-offs. This paper reviews seven recently
developed multidisciplinary indicator-based assessment methods with respect
to their contribution to these shortcomings. All approaches include (1)
normative aspects such as goal setting, (2) systemic aspects such as a
specification of scale of analysis, (3) a reproducible structure of the
approach. The approaches can be categorized into three typologies. The topdown
farm assessments focus on field or farm assessment. They have a clear
procedure for measuring the indicators and assessing the sustainability of
the system, which allows for benchmarking across farms. The degree of
participation is low, potentially affecting the implementation of the
results negatively. The top-down regional assessment assesses the on-farm
and the regional effects. They include some participation to increase
acceptance of the results. However, they miss the analysis of potential
trade-offs. The bottom-up, integrated participatory or transdisciplinary
approaches focus on a regional scale. Stakeholders are included throughout
the whole process assuring the acceptance of the results and increasing the
probability of implementation of developed measures. As they include the
interaction between the indicators in their system representation, they
allow for performing a trade-off analysis. The bottom-up, integrated
participatory or transdisciplinary approaches seem to better overcome the
four shortcomings mentioned above.

Abstract

Several methods for assessing the sustainability of agricultural systems
have been developed. These methods do not fully: (i) take into account the
multi-functionality of agriculture; (ii) include multidimensionality; (iii)
utilize and implement the assessment knowledge; and (iv) identify
conflicting goals and trade-offs. This paper reviews seven recently
developed multidisciplinary indicator-based assessment methods with respect
to their contribution to these shortcomings. All approaches include (1)
normative aspects such as goal setting, (2) systemic aspects such as a
specification of scale of analysis, (3) a reproducible structure of the
approach. The approaches can be categorized into three typologies. The topdown
farm assessments focus on field or farm assessment. They have a clear
procedure for measuring the indicators and assessing the sustainability of
the system, which allows for benchmarking across farms. The degree of
participation is low, potentially affecting the implementation of the
results negatively. The top-down regional assessment assesses the on-farm
and the regional effects. They include some participation to increase
acceptance of the results. However, they miss the analysis of potential
trade-offs. The bottom-up, integrated participatory or transdisciplinary
approaches focus on a regional scale. Stakeholders are included throughout
the whole process assuring the acceptance of the results and increasing the
probability of implementation of developed measures. As they include the
interaction between the indicators in their system representation, they
allow for performing a trade-off analysis. The bottom-up, integrated
participatory or transdisciplinary approaches seem to better overcome the
four shortcomings mentioned above.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Event End Date:26 March 2010
Deposited On:18 Feb 2011 15:04
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 07:30
Additional Information:Keynote Speaker
Official URL:http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/56/1/44796150.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.oecd.org/document/9/0,3746,en_2825_494504_43662921_1_1_1_1,00.html (Organisation)

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