Policy makers need to assess whether the policy that is being implemented is reaching its objectives and - if not - for which kind of reasons and at which stage of the implementation process failures are occurring. Monitoring and evaluation, together with indicators and peer reviews, provide valuable information in this regard. The selection of monitoring and evaluation methods will be done after the political choice of the most appropriate policy option has been made, as it is the last step in the policy design process.
The main issues to be considered are
Environmental monitoring describes the processes and activities that need to take place to characterise and monitor the quality of the environment. Environmental monitoring is used in the preparation of environmental impact assessments, as well as in many circumstances in which human activities carry a risk of harmful effects on the natural environment.
Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without making physical contact with the object. In modern usage, the term generally refers to the use of aerial sensor technologies to detect and classify objects on Earth (both on the surface, and in the atmosphere and oceans) by means of propagated signals.
Evaluation is a systematic determination of a subject's merit, worth and significance, using criteria governed by a set of standards. It can assist an organization, program, project or any other intervention or initiative to assess any aim, realisable concept/proposal, or any alternative, to help in decision-making; or to ascertain the degree of achievement or value in regard to the aim and objectives and results of any such action that has been complete.
Indicators are measurable units of a different sorts and order that facilitate the assessment of changes in complex systems. In general one differerntiates between environmental, social and economic indicators. The selection of indicators and indicator systems – composition of indicators – are object to scientific and political debate since they determine the results of assessments and evaluations.
Peer reviews are the evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work (peers). It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility. In academia peer review is often used to determine an academic paper's suitability for publication.