SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES IN IMPACT ASSESSMENT: WHY ARE THEY NEEDED AND WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
The established approach to impact assessment is baseline-led, whereby the conditions that are likely to prevail in the absence of a proposed initiative are used as the "benchmarks" for determining the significance of impacts. Proponents of sustainable development (SD) criticise this approach for being directionless since it is based on extrapolating the past with no clear vision of what should be achieved in the future. Establishing objectives by which SD can be defined is one of the greatest challenges in the development of objectives-led assessment, especially since there is still so little consensus regarding exactly what SD entails. This paper explores a number of methods for establishing SD objectives based on a literature review and the analysis of case studies.
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