Background The use of indexes to both assess and guide action has become an increasingly accepted business practice in both public institutions and private businesses. For example, by gathering and analyzing comprehensive quantitative and objective data to compare business environments across economies and over time, the World Bank Group’s Doing Business reports have provided “actionable” information to guide senior policymakers in improving the efficiency of their regulatory environments, offered measurable benchmarks for reform, and served as an important resource for potential investors, researchers and donors.
There is broad consensus within the international community regarding the utility of a similar tool that would provide objective, comparable, and actionable measures of country performance on specific indicators unique to the agriculture sector, including measures affecting small, medium and large agribusiness development as well as broader measures of food security. The G8 2012 Communique announced the launch of “a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to accelerate the flow of private capital to African agriculture, take to scale new technologies and other innovations that can increase sustainable agricultural productivity, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities.” Continued tracking of the performance of international assistance programs will, therefore, be accompanied by efforts to spur appropriate actions of developing countries and private investors to achieve greater agricultural development, food security, and improved nutrition and ongoing assessment of the progress being made by a diverse group of stakeholders. The Copenhagen ConsultationProposals have already been initiated to increase collaboration among donors, multilateral development organizations, and developing countries in pursuing these goals and measuring progress using quantitative indicators of change. Many assessment processes are already carried out by national statistical systems, international organizations, and the private sector and several pilot efforts related to agriculture indexes are currently underway, but few permit comparison of progress made in different countries and not all are based on reliable data or provide results in a manner that is credible and useful to decision-makers.
Based on its experience in producing the well-regarded Doing Business index for more than a decade, the World Bank was called on by the G8, “in collaboration with other relevant partners, to develop options for generating a Doing Business in Agriculture Index.” To advance this goal and capitalize on momentum for stronger collaboration on developing indexes for the broader agriculture sector, the Governments of Denmark and the United States have agreed to co-convene a meeting on June 28 and 29, 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Participants with experience in designing and managing data systems that support the development of credible indexes and participants likely to be target users of such indexes will jointly undertake a structured review of ongoing and planned activities related to the development of agricultural indices/scorecards, and provide recommendations, inter alia, on:
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