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This project aims to assist in improving the sustainable development strategy definition, by high level validation of the sustainability tools using a consistent and comprehensive evaluation framework.

To realise progress towards the ambitions on Sustainable Development (SD), 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 and ambitious decisions on which policies to develop and to review the progress made towards the SD goals, tools (i.e. methodologies, models, approaches and appraisals) are needed that support strategy development, ex ante sustainability impact assessments as well as policy reviews.

The goal of this project is to assist in improving both impact assessments and the SD strategy definition by carrying a comprehensive assessment of available assessment tools. Questions that this research project seeks to answer include the following: What are pros and cons of the tools? What can deliver?When can they be used?

The project first lists key aspects of SD, and then compiles a full list of tools, along with a preliminary evaluation of the tools based on literature reviews. An array of tools is then tested in one case study. This is expected to lead to 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 should show which tools are usefull for answering which key aspects of SD and will identify the trade-offs of using the different tools for addressing the three pillars of SD (economic, environmental and social).