In a framework of sustainable development (SD), theoretical perspectives, criteria, methods and techniques are helpful in not only identifying the state of affairs and setting targets, but also to assess the sustainability of the means used to achieve these targets. Development projects are some of these means, involving different actors (governmental, private, civil) at multiple levels (international, national, regional, local). The analysis shows how the traditional methods used in the assessment of projects and policies, cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria analysis, have been extended to the assessment of environmental criteria in projects, while Environmental Impact Assessment has been developed to focus on environmental impacts of development projects. Though some disciplines provide insights of criteria to be included within a SD framework, the analysis reveals that economics and management prevail as the dominant disciplines in the appraisal of environmental concerns within development projects, imposing their dominant view of SD: weak sustainability. Despite the aim of achieving objectivity in project appraisal, the limitations of these methods leave space for decision-makers’ subjectivity. Proposals from other disciplines may fill this gap, particularly, through stakeholder participation.
|Keywords:||Sustainable Development, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Multi-Criteria Analysis, Environmental Assessment|
Postgraduate Research Student, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, UK
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