Converging impact assessment discourses for sustainable development: the case of Flanders, Belgium

Hugé, Jean; Waas, Tom
June 2011
Environment, Development & Sustainability;Jun2011, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p607
Academic Journal
The scientific field of impact assessment encompasses various 'traditions', each reflecting a set of particular policy objectives. This paper analyses two types of impact assessment. Regulatory impact analysis focuses on better regulation and competitiveness, while sustainability assessment fosters a holistic approach centred on the values of sustainable development. Through an analysis of the political discourses at the level of the European Union and at the sub-national level of the Flemish Region of Belgium, elements of convergence between the better regulation and sustainable development discourse are identified. The paper analyses how integrated impact assessment can be an integrative tool that allows to merge both discourses and to implement them in day-to-day decision-making. The potential of the existing Flemish regulatory impact analysis framework to be the starting point of an integrated assessment scheme for sustainable development is advocated and motivated.


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