Development of Multi-criteria Decision Support and Analysis Tools to Assist Community Economic Development and Environmental Planning

EcoPlan International (EPI) works on the ground to collectively improve local livelihoods and encourage sustainable growth that is both holistic and inclusive. This requires taking decisions in complex multi-stakeholder situations, characterized by differences in values, perceptions, and knowledge bases. To assist in this processs, a Multi-Criteria approach to Decision Analysis (MCDA) is used to aid the stakeholders in reaching agreement on the best possible course of action for a given situation. This research will first carry out a comprehensive review of the literature of MCDA tools as applied in three distinct domains, water management, energy planning, and First Nations local economic development. Second, domain specific MCDA tools will be developed to meet the needs of sustainable development planning in the context of EPI’s work. There are a number of MCDA techniques that will be drawn from such as: preference modeling; outranking methods; multi-attribute utility and value theories; non-classical MCDA approaches; and multi-objective mathematical programming. Finally, the research will analyze and evaluate the MCDA tools across the three domains, with the objective of finding synergies and opportunities to develop more innovative tools.