Policy impact assessment is a research method to support the development of new policies, instruments and measures. As a formalized process for knowledge-based (see also: knowledge-based environmental policy) of Impact Assessment of policy development in the European Union, it has been introduced in all OECD countries and beyond.
The impact assessment process usually follows a series of standardized steps: first, the policy problem is to be addressed and identified; then targets are defined and options are identified which may be appropriate to achieve these goals.
These options are then analyzed and compared in terms of their contribution to achieving the objective and their likely impact on the economic, environmental and social issues. The goal is not only to detect unintended effects, but also to capture the possible side effects and their adverse effects on environment and society. On this basis, the policy options are compared and identified for possible synergies and trade-offs with other policy objectives and flanking measures to minimize adverse effects. In this way a foundation is to be provided for the assessment of policy options that are best suited to achieve the regulatory target and to develop the smallest possible unwanted side effects.
The FFU deals with the processes and tools of impact assessment of policy in various jurisdictions and in the comparative perspective. A special focus is given to the consideration and integration of sustainability aspects into policy impact assessment.
In addition, tools and methods are being developed that can be used to carry out policy impact assessments. In this way, we combine basic research on processes, methods and tools with their practical application in the impact assessment.
It is the aim of the study to analyze actions as well as quality goals of national and European sustainability policies with regard to their compatibility with the overarching guiding principles of European environmental programs. In this way the project aims at improving governance and steering among them.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is already a standardised and institutionalised framework, which has been in place for decades and has been integrated in legislation and regulation for many years. However, EIA has also been thoroughly criticized for being a marginal and disconnected procedure with no real influence on decision-making processes.