European Practice and Experience
Edited by Clive George and Colin Kirkpatrick
Chapter 16: Exploring the Feasibility of Sustainability Impact Assessment Procedures for Federal Policies in Belgium
Tom Bauler, Marco Wäktare and Alessandro Bonifazi I. INTRODUCTION Since September 2004, Belgium has been building the ﬁrst steps towards institutionalizing an evaluation scheme1 at its federal level which aims to integrate evaluation patterns of a regulatory impact assessment with the Belgian sustainable development (SD) agenda (Belgian Federal Government 2004-a). While the very basic inter-departmental responsibilities attached to this resulting sustainability impact assessment (SIA) have been clariﬁed by the initial regulation, all other parts of this future SIA scheme appear to be very loosely determined. This chapter takes stock of some of the results of a research project,2 which explores whether and how such an SIA scheme could be applied to the federal level of Belgian government. It provides a description of the ﬁrst steps of the research project and more speciﬁcally, it addresses issues related to the supply and the demand sides of SIA. The supply side is covered through an analysis of major points to take into account when designing such an assessment. Issues related to the demand side were identiﬁed through face-to-face interviews which aimed to gain knowledge of the understanding, dangers and opportunities, experiences and expertise, as well as the institutional challenges, perceived both by stakeholders and civil servants. The results of the interviews are discussed in detail in the chapter. II. THE BELGIAN CONTEXT The basic inter-departmental responsibilities attached to a Belgian federal SIA mechanism were clariﬁed by the initial regulation which also established 281 282 European perspectives the...
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