AMP Toolbox

Multi-Cases Tool (Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, MCDA)
This tool has been developed with funding from the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme, contract n° 518294 (CASES project). Consequently, the research or results obtained from this tool should include the following statement: "The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme, contract n° 518294 (CASES)."

Step 2 - Assemble the basic policy
Step 3 - Make policy robust
Activity - Prioritize/assess new measures

To compare and prioritize different policy instruments or options aiming at managing human activities impacting coastal and marine ecosystems, based on different criteria and through a participatory approach. The relative importance of the criteria is evaluated and the policy options are ranked accordingly.

The Multi-Cases Tool (MCT) has integrated a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and weighting methods in an EXCEL computational framework and can be directly used by any user or stakeholder wishing to rank a number of alternatives by taking into consideration their performances in multiple criteria. The tool is developed in a dynamic and interactive way giving the user the flexibility to define the elements of the decision problem to express and eventually revise preferences, to add or reject alternatives or criteria and finally to perform sensitivity analyses, based on different scenarios.

            Figure: Example of the different phases or stages of the Multi-Cases Tool.

The Multi-Cases Tools consists of 11 pages (sheets), as follows:

  • Home: Introductory sheet to the tool.
  • Steps: Provides an overview of all methodological steps.
    Criteria: Definition and ranking of the examined criteria.
    Alternatives: Definition of the examined alternativesPerformances: Specification of the performances of each alternative in each criterion.
  • RATIO Weights: Calculates the RATIO weights.
  • LEVEL Weights: Calculates the LEVEL weights.
  • RATIO Results: Calculates the RATIO results.
  • LEVEL Results: Calculates the LEVEL results.
  • Sensitivity Analysis: Implements a sensitivity analysis with RATIO and/or LEVEL weights.
  • Stakeholder Data: Stores all necessary input and output data to be used in the elaboration of results.

Note: It is crucial for the functionality of the tool to enable the MACROS settings.


The Multi-Cases Tool is a methodological framework and a dynamic and interactive MCDA tool, which has been developed to help respondents identify the relative importance of criteria and accordingly rank the policy instruments in a descending order of preference. Within the AMP Toolbox, this tool is particularly useful to proceed to the comparative assessment of policy options aiming at the management of human activities impacting coastal and marine ecosystems.

The MCDA presents the advantage of great simplicity and transparency and can be easily understood by stakeholders in the constrained time frame of a workshop. In addition, it is compatible with Cost-Benefit Analysis, because it uses a similar utilitarian background where decisions result from explicit or implicit trade-offs between conflicting interests or points of view. Therefore, it can act in a complementary way to the external and internal cost values, by including evaluation aspects that cannot be expressed in monetary terms.


Low-Moderate. The costs are relatively low if there is a leader with specific skills on the issue and some experience in MCDA that runs the process. The major costs are associated to the workshop costs. If all participants are local, then these costs can be very low.

Low-Moderate, since previous experience in the analysis is preferred, but not necessary.
10. Background Requirements
Moderate. It is necessary to: (i) select and invite stakeholders to the workshop; (ii) adapt Multi-Cases Tool to the two policy problems; (iii) prepare the material to be delivered to the stakeholders; and, (iv) organize the workshop.

From moderate (when small groups of stakeholders and analyzed) to high (when large groups of stakeholders are engaged).

Time Range
Short or moderate. Usually, few days are necessary.

Source of Information
Diakoulaki, D., Tourkolias, C., Bokenkamp, G., Hohmeyer, O., Nijs, W., Richard, B., 2008. DELIVERABLE No. D.11.3. Report (1) on policy instruments’ assessment methods and comparative analysis. CASES, Cost Assessment of Sustainable Energy Systems. Project No 518294 SES6.