SUSTAIN has developed an indicator-based methodology and scoring system which enables a self- assessment approach for local and regional authorities, to evaluate their sustainability performance for the purpose of improving the management of coastal zones. It enables coastal authorities to determine whether they are reaching their strategic sustainability goals and to identify situations requiring management intervention.

Relevant indicators have been chosen to cover 22 distinct Issues within the four recognisable pillars of sustainability i.e. Governance, Economics, Environmental Quality and Social Well-being. There are both Core and Optional Indicators to reflect locally specific situations which can vary across Europe’s many diverse regions. A Checklist approach has been introduced in respect of the Governance pillar, rather than indicators which are notoriously difficult to measure.

Data for the relevant indicators is fed into a newly developed policy tool, DeCyDe-for-Sustainability. This is a user-friendly, spreadsheet tool that allows the Core Indicators to be scored numerically, to support the self-assessment and to determine, whether an Authority is moving towards a sustainable end-point. Implementing the tool is done through participatory workshops where discussion about the Issues, Indicators and Data is as important as the numerical value obtained.

Together, the SUSTAIN Indicator Set and DeCyDe-for-Sustainability tool constitute a user-friendly, rapid implementation, self-assessment tool. It respects the time limitations of policy-makers and other stakeholders.