AMP Toolbox

Step 2: Assemble the basic policy

Step 2 aims to propose possible policy solution(s) to address the issues and objectives defined in Step 1, and to make an analysis of the policy proposals, considering in particular the existing measures. Accordingly, Step 2 consists in two activities: (i) identifying, assessing, and prioritizing the potential measures (ii) ensuring the engagement of all stakeholders to enhance relevant and feasible ideas as well as to get the approval of the measures for a greater chance of success in the environmental managing process.

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Why is this step necessary?

Step 2 is required to ensure a real choice of management alternatives is included for decision makers, in order that the policy is adaptive. It is important that these management alternatives produce substantively different management impacts, and that they are ecologically, economically, politically, and legally feasible (Williams, 2009). Each of the identified measures, should be accompanied by information on its potential relevance to other existing legislation (mainly that of the European Union, the Regional Sea Convention and international agreements), expected benefits and costs, responsible institutions for implementation, monitoring and compliance control.

Who should be engaged?

Technical experts, competent authorities responsible for policy implementation and stakeholders should all be involved in the process. The art lies in facilitating a fruitful dialogue between these different groups of actors.

How should this step be carried out?

Building on step 1 the gaps between the current and the targeted status (e.g. GES) are assessed. Next, possible measures for achieving policy objectives are identified. A review of existing relevant policy measures and policy actions which are already used to address related problems and achieve similar objectives should be completed. This results in an inventory of possible measures.

When developing a Programme of Measures (PoM) under the MSFD, it is necessary to take into account possible contributions of existing (other) policies and measures, for example, earlier environmental legislation at the European (e.g. Water Framework Directive) or regional levels (e.g. the Protocols of the Mediterranean Action Plan). It is necessary to assess to what extent they already contribute to reaching the MSFD and ECAP objectives set for the area in question. Since these existing measures were not designed specifically for the implementation of the policy in question, it is possible that they are not sufficient and some gaps could exist. Options available to assist with identifying new measures include stakeholder consultations, information from scientific reports, exchanges between governments, inputs from other governing bodies or by expanding and reinforcing existing measures (i.e. scope). When an inventory of possible measures has been produced, a thorough process of comparison and analysis is applied to the measures identified, which should then lead to a list of potential measures.

To structure this process, a number of analytical tools are available which help to test measures against a tailor-made list of (weighted) criteria, such as impact assessment, cost effectiveness analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and multi-criteria analysis. Moreover, such assessments can provide needed information on possible exceptions to policies, e.g. due to disproportionate costs.

In adaptive policy making, variety is an important principle to consider in the selection of measures (Swanson et al., 2009). The diversification of interventions is a popular strategy in risk management because it enhances the possibility of performing well under adverse or unanticipated conditions (Nair and Roy, 2010). A commonly applied means of fostering variety in adaptive policy making is therefore to involve stakeholder participation not only in the identification of possible measures, but also in the process of selecting and weighting criteria by which to assess and select measures. Policy makers should also promote self-organisationorganisation and social networking, by which societies are enabled to create alternative approaches in pursuing a common objective (Swanson et al., 2009). Last but not least, each measure needs to be equipped with information on who is responsible for implementing, evaluating, monitoring and controlling its application.

What should be the outcome?

The outcome of this step should be a description of the measures, policies and solutions available to address the issues and needs raised in Step 1. This includes an exploration of their suitability within the given context. Continued engagement of stakeholders throughout this process is key.

Key activities (not necessarily a step-by-step process, but a series of actions to be performed before the design and selection of measures begins):
Further reading

Several problems or issues can be addressed with the AMP Toolbox, in this case marine litter in the Mediterranean and Black Sea is used as an example.

Information on examples

Once the problem has been addressed and the desired objectives defined, it is essential to find different possible solutions and make an analysis of the policy proposals. Accordingly it is necessary to “Identify measures” or to look at the full range of possible solutions and develop a list of options. Though, the most important thing at this point is to “Prioritize/assess new measures” and define the right set of criteria (equity, cost, benefits, effectiveness, efficiency, participatory, conflicts to name a few) against the different options will be assessed. The selection of the criteria will depend on the international or national conditions/circumstances. Though, the choice of the appropriate measure is case specific, largely depending on: (i) the source of pollution (land-based source, e.g. tourist tax, vs. ocean-based sources, e.g. rewards for fishing vessels that return waste); (ii) the country´s institutional characteristics and infrastructures (e.g. to launch a landfill tax, the country should have implemented a proper waste management strategy and a properly functioning waste collection and disposal procedure); (iii) consumer´s preferences and habitual behavior (i.e. the effect of a measure can temporarily change the behavior and last only as long as the measure is in place); and, (iv) the economy´s overall sectorial composition. For more details see flag example.