The concept of Ecologically Sustainable Economic Development (ESED) has led to relentlessly heated debate. Yet, it still remains without a clear operational framework. At the micro level where a multitude of projects and programmes are designed, the absence of operational principles has serious repercussions. In order to tackle this ineffectiveness, ESED may be viewed as a pattern of economic process and evolution that takes into account the constraints imposed by the natural environment. In effect, the economic process should ensure the preservation of the human race by maintaining the biological basis responsible for the healthy evolution of the race. In addition, economic development should not lead to Pareto suboptimal positions by precluding production potentials. Based on these principles, the present paper outlines an operational framework for ESED at the micro level of projects and programmes. Copyright © 2006 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.