Many countries have expressed a need to assess not only the greenhouse gas impacts of policies and actions, but also the broader environmental, social and economic impacts most relevant to decision-making in the national context. Sustainable development impacts include air pollution reduction, job creation, improved health, access to energy, poverty reduction, protection of ecosystems, and more. The Sustainable Development Guidance provides a stepwise approach to support integrating such impacts into policy design and planning through:

  • Ex-ante assessment of expected future impacts;
  • Ex-post evaluation of historical impacts to ensure intended results have been achieved;
  • A focus on general guidance applicable to all types of sustainable development impact categories and all sectors.
  • Links to methods and models for quantifying specific impact categories.

Countries may use the Sustainable Development Guidance to achieve multiple objectives, such as:

  • Promoting an integrated national strategy by identifying policies and actions that address multiple priorities;
  • Integrating climate policy into broader national development policy;
  • Determining whether policies and actions are having the desired effects;
  • Tracking and reporting on progress towards goals such as NDCs and Sustainable Development Goals.

The guidance is applicable to all sectors, policies and actions.

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The May 2018 version of guidance is now available. Click here for the full guidance document or use the sections below to navigate to a specific topic. Click here for an introduction to the methodology.

Chapters

1 & 2

What is the guidance and why should I use it?

These chapters explain the purpose and scope of the guidance and the various objectives the guidance can serve. This section should be read to understand whether to use the guidance and to determine what objectives it will be used for.

Chapter

3

Overview of the methodology

This chapter provides an overview of the concepts and steps involved in assessing the sustainable development impacts of policies and actions. It also provides guidance on planning the assessment. This section should be read to understand the methodology and help plan the assessment process.

Chapter

4

How to describe the policy or action being assessed

This chapter provides guidance on the first step of the assessment process, clearly describing the policy or action that will be assessed. It also provides guidance on deciding whether to assess an individual or a package of policies and actions and choosing whether to carry out an ex-ante (forward-looking) or ex-post (backward-looking) assessment.

Chapter

5

How to choose which sustainable development impacts and indicators to assess

This chapter outlines the many types of sustainable development impact categories and indicators that can be assessed across the environmental, social and economic dimensions and guides users in choosing which to assess.

Chapters

6 & 7

How to qualitatively assess impacts

These chapters explain how to use qualitative approaches to assess the sustainable development impacts of a policy or action. This step is relevant for all users, including those following qualitative and quantitative approaches. For users following a qualitative approach, these chapters are the key assessment steps. For users following a quantitative approach, these chapters are a preliminary step to prioritise which impacts are most significant and should therefore be quantified in later chapters.

Chapters

8 - 11

How to quantitatively assess impacts

These chapters are relevant for users following a quantitative approach to impact assessment. Quantifying impacts may not always be necessary, but it enables a wider range of objectives than qualitative assessment alone, since it produces a quantified estimate of how effective policies are relative to what would have happened otherwise. This section includes all steps related to quantification, including estimating baseline scenario and policy scenario conditions and subtracting the two to estimate policy impact. It also includes a chapter on assessing the uncertainty of the results.

Chapters

12 & 13

How to monitor indicators over time and report results

These chapters are relevant for all users. Chapter 12 provides guidance on monitoring trends in key indicators over time to understand whether policies are on track and delivering expected results. Chapter 13 provides a recommended list of information to be reported, which ensures the impact assessment is transparent and gives decision-makers and stakeholders the information they need to properly interpret the results.

Chapter

14

How to use results to make decisions, through tools such as cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria analysis

This chapter provides an overview of cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and multi-criteria analysis, which can be used to evaluate possible synergies and tradeoffs across multiple impact categories included in the assessment and make decisions regarding policy choice and implementation.

Appendix

A

Example of quantifying the SD impacts of a solar PV incentive policy

This appendix provides an example of quantifying the impact of a grid-connected rooftop solar PV incentive policy. The example shows how to carry out a quantitative ex-ante assessment following the steps outlined in Chapters 8 and 9 for several different sustainable development impacts of the policy.

Appendix

B & C

Additional guidance

These appendices provide additional information on involving stakeholders and using qualitative research methods during the assessment process.

Appendix

D

List of tools and models for quantifying SD impacts

This appendix provides examples of publicly available tools that can be used for assessing social, economic and environmental impacts of policies and actions.

Glossary, references and contributors

This section contains the glossary, abbreviations and acronyms, references and contributors.

List of key recommendations

This is a summary of the key recommendations provided throughout the guidance.

Resources

  • Archive: Sustainable Development Guidance First Draft

    The Sustainable Development Guidance provides a stepwise approach to support integrating sustainable development impacts into the policy impact assessment process.

  • Database of Sustainable Development Tools and Resources

    This Excel file provides a list of tools, methods and resources to help users implement the Sustainable Development Guidance. It provides a searchable list of calculation methods for various environmental, social and economic impact categories to complement the general guidance.

  • Webinar Slides: Draft Sustainable Development Guidance

    This webinar provides information on the draft Sustainable Development Guidance, a how-to on commenting via Collaborase and a brief overview of the Stakeholder Participation and Technical Review Guidance as they relate to the Sustainable Development Guidance. Full webinar available here: Webinar Recording