The outdoor environment has a significant impact on our health and wellbeing. The European Green Deal has introduced the ambitious commitment to a ‘Zero-Pollution Action Plan for air, water, and soil’ to protect humans and the environment. Evidence-based policy making on environmental stressors is however hampered by the methodological challenges to quantify their socio-economic costs. The overall objective of BEST-COST is to improve methodologies for the socio-economic cost assessment of environmental stressors to i) enhance regular usage of economic and health modelling in policy impact assessments and policy evaluation; and ii) promote harmonised and consensus metrics for integrative socio-economic assessments of environmental stressors in Europe. BEST-COST will develop an improved and consensual burden of disease (BOD) framework for estimating the health impact of environmental stressors, with a focus on air pollution and noise and their interactions; an improved and consensual methodology for monetization of BOD estimates of environmental stressors; and a coherent methodological framework for assessing social inequalities in the socio-economic cost of environmental stressors. BEST-COST is conducted by a strong and unique consortium, gathering world-class expertise on environmental BOD assessment. The BEST-COST consortium consists of 17 organisations from 10 EU countries and the USA, and will be supported by an Advisory Board including representatives from JRC, EEA, and WHO. The consortium bridges the expertise from the Global Burden of Disease study, via the inclusion of IHME and key GBD collaborators, with that of national BOD studies, and will translate this expertise to EU agencies
The described methods will be co-developed with key stakeholders, made available as open access tools, and trialled in different EU countries. To ensure sustainability, transferability of the knowledge and methods developed by BEST-COST to other countries and stressors will be established.