Importance of Sustainable Development Indicators Ted Heintz Department of the Interior Office of Policy Analysis. Some History:. Sustainability, achieved through the processes of Sustainable Development, has emerged as an important goal over the last 20 years.
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Importance of Sustainable Development IndicatorsTed HeintzDepartment of the InteriorOffice of Policy Analysis
Some History: • Sustainability, achieved through the processes of Sustainable Development, has emerged as an important goal over the last 20 years. • In 1987, the Brundtland Commission Report, Our Common Future put forward the concept of Sustainable Development as development that • meets the needs of the current generation • while not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Roles of National Indicators of Sustainable Development • To provide information for decision making. • high level decisions • management decisions • daily life decisions • To provide feedback needed for sustainable development. • developing a shared understanding of the consequences of millions of actions.
Indicators Provide Feedback that Steers Social and Economic Action • Promote social learning: shared understanding and broader agreement about what needs to be done. • Promote evolution of management processes by showing what works and what doesn’t.
The process of indicator development is as valuable as the indicators we produce. • Experts, decision makers, and the public should work together in a participatory process. • Indicator selection is a process that requires broader concensus on goals. • We are what we measure. We need to measure what we want to be. • We are more likely to become what we can agree to measure. We need to agree on what we want to become.
Roles of Performance Measures for Sustainability • To provide accountability in the operation of government programs with objectives relevant to sustainability. • To provide feedback in order to promote learning about what works and what doesn’t. • To measure the contribution of specific programs to national progress toward sustainability.
The National SDI Framework • What We Are Trying to Assess? • What is Sustainability?
Consistent with the Brundtland definition, • Sustainability is the condition in which we are reasonably confident that • As we are meeting the needs (and wants) of the current generation, we are also • Passing along to future generations sufficient means for them to meet their needs (and wants).
Focusing on Future Generations by Measuring Endowments • The SDI Framework includes indicators for all our Endowments: • all of the stocks and productive capacities we draw upon to meet our needs and then pass along to the future. • economic or produced capital and infrastructure. • environmental or natural capital. • social capital. • We are the Trustees of our Endowments.
Focusing on Future Generations by Measuring Endowment Changes • The SDI Framework includes indicators for Processes • including the Driving Forces that change our Endowments. • depreciation and investment in produced capital. • depletion and augmentation of natural resource stocks. • degradation and restoration of natural systems. • building social capital.
Focusing on Meeting Current Needs • The SDI Framework includes indicators for Current Outputs and Results. • economic goods and services that people use to meet their needs and wants. • environmental services that meet peoples needs and wants. • experiences people have through social relationships that met their needs and wants. • The SDI Framework provides an opportunity to measure output and the resulting satisfaction of needs and wants separately
Performance Measures for Sustainability • Measure Endowments you manage • measure capacities or stocks directly. • measure Driving Forces you cause that increase or decrease those capacities. • Measure Endowments you affect • measure Driving Forces you cause that increase or decrease Endowments you don’t manage. • Measure Current Outputs and Results you produce • trends can reveal increases or decreases in Endowments