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Project Methods and Tools for Integrated Sustainability Assessment

Sustainable development has become an overall policy objective in the European Union. The objective of MATISSE is therefore to achieve a step-wise advance in the science and application of Integrated Sustainability Assessment (ISA) of EU policies. In order to reach this objective the core activity of the MATISSE project is to improve the tool kit available for conducting Integrated Sustainability Assessments.

The resulting improved tools portfolio will form the primary deliverable of the project. A major focus will be on developing ISA-modelling tools in relation to ISA-participatory methods. These, primarily quantitative, ISA-tools will be made suitable for use by the European Commission and other actors in the governance hierarchy that seek to apply ISA in a wide range of contexts. A comprehensive dissemination programme will ensure the optimal take-up of these deliverables across Europe with a special emphasis on the new EU member countries. The dissemination programme will be underpinned by the creation of a web-based portal to disseminate the improved tools portfolio, and to provide a contact service for ISA practitioners and stakeholders. The development of these primary deliverables will be made possible by: utilizing (from the Sustainability A-Test project) a systemic inventory of current tools and methods for ISA; and by anchoring sustainability assessment within a rigorous scientific and theoretical context through the development of a conceptual framework for ISA. The improved tools portfolio will be evaluated and improved through application to a set of European case studies selected in order to deliver case-specific sustainability assessments useful to policy makers and other stakeholders. MATISSE aims to contribute to the longer-term development of ISA as a generic, strategic, multipurpose approach to the integrated analysis and assessment of sustainability strategies and policies.

In sum, the MATISSE-approach forms a cyclical and iterative process, in which learning, interaction and feedback are crucial elements. Past learning experiences form the basis for the improved tools portfolio. Results from the case studies form the input for the further development of existing and new ISA-tools. These are then used in the case studies, which in their turn feed back into the development of ISA-tools and methods.

Project number 004059 (GOCE)
Geographical coverage Netherlands, United Kingdom, Greece, Sweden, France, Hungary, Norway, Germany, Austria, Spain, Czech Republic
Budget (in €) 0
Programme INCO MED (FP6)
Web site
Objectives MATISSE aims to achieve a step-wise advance in the science and application of Integrated Sustainability Assessment (ISA) of EU policies. In order to reach this objective the core activity of the MATISSE project is to improve the tools available for conducting Integrated Sustainability Assessments.

MATISSE works on four main project activities:

(if you click on the hyperlinks you will get more information on the respective workpackages)

  1. A common conceptual framework for ISA development, implementation and evaluation will be developed. This will be related to the assessment of the current status of ISA (Work Package 1) and its pattern of use (Work Package 2) in relation to different domains and contexts.
  2. MATISSE will deliver a future tool portfolio for ISA (Work Package 9). It will improve and interlink existing tools (Work Package 8) and methods for ISA (building on the results of SustainabilityA-TEST) with the focus on quantitative tools.

  3. In four case studies the improved and new ISA tools will be applied and tested. The case studies are designed to cover the broad spectrum of domains and contexts of ISA in the EU. The themes are (Work Packages 4-7):

    i) agriculture, forestry and land-use,
    ii) resource use, waste and dematerialisation
    iii) water (using the example of Ebro delta, Spain)
    iv) sustainable environmental technology development.

  4. The involvement and engagement of stakeholders and policy makers will be secured throughout all activities of the project. This will be implemented inter alia via capacity-building, communications and outreach tasks (Work Package 10).


A series of Briefing Sheets informs every six months on the progress within the workpackages.

Period [01/04/2005 - 31/03/2008]