Identifying Tools for Sustainability Assessment
Integrated sustainability assessment is a key element for advancing sustainable development by assessing the economic, environmental and social impacts of policy proposals. While the EU Commission has committed to producing high quality impact assessment, Anneke von Raggamby evaluates the availability and actual use in EU Commission Impact Assessment practice at the OECD workshop on Sustainable Assessment Methodologies.
In her presentation, Anneke von Raggamby identifies problems of tool use and reflects on the way forward. Her research has shown that in practice there are problems with the availability of data, methodological gaps in quantifying environmental and social impacts and a tendency to only accept quantitative results.
She argues that because the environment is perceived to be in a politically weak position, environmental DGs find themselves in a position to use quantification as much as possible to press their case. She recommends optimising the links of research on tools for impact assessment to policy-making in order to improve the communication of environmental impacts.
As a consequence a shift in the Impact Assessment approach is needed towards a process-oriented, integrated approach that entails more the stakeholder involvement/qualitative exercise logic than current practice.
The lecture presented results of von Raggamby's research in the context of the project Sustainability A-test and the project "Improving Assessment of the Environment in Impact Assessment" commissioned by DG Environment
The workshop brought together experts on Impact Assessment in order to identify best practices and develop guidelines for assessments which identify synergies and trade-offs across economic, environmental and social impacts.
The results of the workshop will be summarized and published by the OECD.
The paper [pdf, 48 KB, English] "Facing the Jungle of Tools – Do We Need New and Better Tools for Impact Assessment or just a New Approach to Jungle Cultivation?" and the presentation [pdf, 206 KB, English] are available for download.