Setting guidelines for cost/benefit assessment of cleaner production


This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.


The World Bank currently applies cost-benefit analysis to estimate the environmental benefits that may be expected from investment projects. Such analysis was applied in the Slovenia environment project, which provides financing for households and small industries to convert from highly polluting energy (coal, wood or high sulfur fuel oil) to natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas.

In many instances, environment and health requirements are complementary. Both can gain greater recognition thanks to comprehensive approaches that span the health, natural resources and economic benefits of environmental investments. For instance, the World Bank applied cost-benefit analysis to air pollution control investments in a cement factory in Estonia. Although the health benefits of these investments were significant, the largest share of estimated environmental benefits had no bearing on health. Only by combining health and non-health benefits could the investments be justified by the cost-benefit analysis.


A relevant and competent UN organization should take the lead, in cooperation with other organizations, in developing guidelines for estimating the costs and benefits of various approaches to the adoption of cleaner production and waste minimization and environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, including rehabilitation of contaminated sites. It should take into account the report of the Nairobi meeting of government-designated experts on an international strategy and an action programme, including technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, in particular in the context of the work of the Basel Convention, being developed under the UNEP Secretariat.

Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production