Table of Contents

Impact Assessment and Sustainable Development

Impact Assessment and Sustainable Development

European Practice and Experience

Evaluating Sustainable Development series

Edited by Clive George and Colin Kirkpatrick

Translation of the principle of sustainable development into policy and practice, and the evaluation of the outcomes of these strategic interventions, are some of the most pressing challenges facing policymakers in Europe and beyond. The chapters in this book contribute to the debate surrounding these challenges. By exploring the conceptual and methodological issues relating to the evaluation of sustainable development and analysing European practice and experience, this work provides a coherent and integrated contribution to our understanding of these issues.

Chapter 1: Impact Assessment and Sustainable Development: An Introduction

Clive George and Colin Kirkpatrick

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, public sector economics, valuation, environment, environmental economics, valuation, politics and public policy, public policy


Clive George and Colin Kirkpatrick I. INTRODUCTION The United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 successfully established the concept of sustainable development as an underlying principle for strategic policy and planning. But the translation of the principle of sustainable development into practice has presented new challenges in finding workable solutions to the complex trade-offs that can arise between the different, and often conflicting, dimensions of sustainable development. The growing complexity of policy-making in terms of the goal of sustainable development has encouraged a growing interest among researchers and practitioners in developing a practical and evidence based approach to public policy appraisal and evaluation. As a result, impact assessment, defined as the systematic assessment of the potential or actual effects of a public intervention on the economic, social and environmental ‘pillars’ of sustainable development, is now used as a tool for policy-making in the European Commission, most member states of the European Union (EU), other OECD countries, and in a growing number of developing countries and transitional economies.1 II. IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT The last decade has seen a growing international interest in the development and use of evidence-informed policy and practice across a wide range of public policy issues. While the design and implementation of public policy has always been of concern to public sector researchers and policy makers, the importance of good regulation has come to the forefront today because of the rise of the ‘regulatory state’ (Majone 1994, 1997)...