Presentation on theme: "Importance of Sustainable Development Indicators Ted Heintz Department of the Interior Office of Policy Analysis."— Presentation transcript:
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. 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 doesnt.
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 doesnt. 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.
Long Term Endowments & Liabilities EconomicEnvironmentalSocial Capital AssetsSurface Water QualityU.S. Population Labor Productivity Acres of Major Terrestrial Ecosystems Children Living in Families with Only One Parent Present Federal Debt to GDP Ratio Contaminants in Biota Teacher Training Level and Application of Qualifications Quantity of Spent Nuclear Fuel Status of Stratospheric Ozone Greenhouse Climate Response Index
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.
Processes EconomicEnvironmentalSocial Energy Consumption(per Capita and per $ of GDP) Ratio of Renewable Water Supply to Withdrawals Contributing Time & Money to Charities Materials Consumption (per Capita and per $ of GDP) Fisheries UtilizationBirths to Single Mothers InflationInvasive Alien SpeciesEducational Attainment by Level Investment in R&D (% of GDP)Conversion of Cropland to Other Uses Participation in the Arts & Recreation Soil Erosion Rates People in Census Tracts with 40% or Greater Poverty Timber Growth to Removals Balance Greenhouse Gas Emissions Identification & Management of Superfund Sites
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 Focusing on Meeting Current Needs
Current Results EconomicEnvironmentalSocial Domestic Product Metropolitan Air Quality Nonattainment Crime Rate Income Distribution Outdoor Recreational Activites Life Expectancy at Birth Consumption Expenditures Per Capita Educational Achievement Rates Unemployment Homeownership Rates % of Households in Problem Housing
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 dont manage. Measure Current Outputs and Results you produce – trends can reveal increases or decreases in Endowments