To realize progress towards Sustainable Development, the EU and others should set wise objectives and make sure that the implementation is taken care of in an effective way. This requires proper policies and a consistent implementation process. To make equitable decisions on which policies to develop and to assess progress, tools (i.e. methodologies, models, approaches and appraisals) are needed that support strategy development, ex-ante sustainability impact assessments as well as policy reviews.
This project will assist in improving both impact assessments and the sustainable development strategy definition by high level validation of the tools using a consistent and comprehensive evaluation framework. The evaluation framework will include issues such as the pros and cons of the tools, what they can and can not deliver, when they can be used, etc. First, a draft evaluation framework and key aspects of sustainable development, against which the tools will be evaluated, will be formulated. A catalogue of state of the art tools will be made and a preliminary evaluation of the tools in the context of different policy questions will be carried out based on literature reviews. In this phase the project will focus on water, climate change and agriculture and land-use policy questions. In the second phase of the project an array of tools will be tested in a case study on agriculture and land use. In phase three the results from the first two phases will be used to derive at a final evaluation framework that indicates how the tools relate, the merits of each tool, the circumstances under which they can be used, the constraints, the pros and cons and the extent to which they integrate externalities of policies. Moreover, the evaluation framework will show which tools are useful for answering which key aspects of sustainable development and will identify the trade-offs of using the different tools for addressing the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, environmental and social).
After this project there will be a better insight for policy-makers and those carrying out sustainability impact assessments, what tools they can best use in decision-making or assessment processes.