Objectives

The main objectives of the DECOIN project are:

(1) to evaluate the existing methods and analytical frameworks in order to assess the progress towards sustainable development,
(2) to elaborate on forecasts and scenarios, and to identify inter-relationships between selected unsustainable trends in the EU, and
(3) to carry out a detailed analysis on the inter-relationships between selected unsustainable trends and to provide a prototype tool for the analysis and for forecasting.

The Consortium has developed the following analytical frameworks which are going to be applied in the project:

The Advanced Sustainability Analysis (ASA; developed by FFRC/ Finland) provides a method for analysing the inter-linkages of different phenomena within a coherent framework. The ASA approach, based on a complete decomposition technique, can be utilized in the assessment of the different dimensions of sustainability and it can provide new indicators which mathematically describe the inter-linkages between the different unsustainable trends.

The Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MSIASEM; developed by INRAN/ Italy) is another innovative approach that so far resulted promising for the study of sustainability issues. MSIASEM integrates biophysical, economic, social, demographic and land use analyses, making it possible to handle simultaneously non-equivalent descriptive domains, across different hierarchical levels and scales.

The main objective of the Sustainability Multicriteria Multiscale Assessment (SUMMA; developed by UNISI/ Italy) is to overcome the inherent shortcomings of all single-criterion approaches, which lead to partial and often misleading results. SUMMA integrates several upstream and downstream methods for thermodynamic, resource use and environmental assessment within a LCA framework and leads to the calculation of consistent resource use efficiency and environ¬mental performance indicators. Energy, material flow accounting, emergy synthesis, exergy, and LCA impact categories are among the methods and tools which are integrated at different scales and managed simultaneously for scenario generation and evaluation.

These three approaches will be developed into a prototype tool which is easy to use and provides reporting features that are required for monitoring and policy making.