Impact Assessment and Sustainable Development
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Impact Assessment and Sustainable Development

European Practice and Experience

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.
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Chapter 16: Exploring the Feasibility of Sustainability Impact Assessment Procedures for Federal Policies in Belgium

Tom Bauler, Marco Wäktare and Alessandro Bonifazi


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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