Criteria for Methodological Strength of Indicators

The development of indicators is a matter of concessions and compromise. The quality of indicators reflects the developers' dexterity in responding to and anticipating a number of constraints. The way an indicator is used and performs depends not only on how it responds to individual criteria applicable at the level of the individual indicator but also on whether it responds in a balanced way to the sum of criteria as an interconnection of constraints. Criteria can be developed on a number of...

HANPP and Biodiversity Theoretical Considerations

Mechanisms of human impacts on biodiversity have been grouped into overexploitation of wild living resources expansion of agriculture, forestry, or aquaculture habitat loss and fragmentation indirect negative effects of species introduced by humans pollution and global climate change (McNeely et al. 1995). Because HANPP is an indicator for changes in terrestrial ecosystems caused by land use, it refers mostly to expansion of agriculture, forestry, or aquaculture and habitat loss and...

Driving Forces Pressures State Exposures Effects and Actions Dpseea Framework

From the perspective of human health impacts, both exposures and the resulting human health effects must be represented. These aspects have been taken into account in a further adaptation of the framework for health purposes, the DPSEEA framework (WHO 1995 Briggs et al. 1996). It is a descriptive representation of the way in which various driving forces generate pressures that affect the state of the environment and, ultimately, human health, through the various exposure pathways by which...

What Are Pressures on Biodiversity

Three principal levels of biodiversity are generally recognized genes, organisms, and ecosystems (Heywood et al. 1995). According to Article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Biological diversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosys tems and the ecological complexes of which they are part this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. Species diversity is...

Jochen Jesinghaus

At first sight, indicators seem to be addressed to experts, economists, and statisticians, and yet they are part of our daily life. For example, whenever I watch the evening news on television, I am informed about at least two indicators First, I am told how the Dow Jones Index evolved on that day, and then the weather report informs me about the next day's temperature. The weather report helps me decide how to dress the next day, but the Dow Jones Index is absolutely useless for me because I...

Inferential and Composite Indicators

There is a great temptation to reduce complexity by combining a range of indices into a single measurement. The Human Influence Index (Sanderson et al. 2002) is an example. Strictly speaking, doing this by summation or averaging makes mathematical sense only if the individual indices have the same units and measurement scales. Many social and economic indicators (such as the Human Development Index, UNDP 2003) are of such a multifactorial nature. Sometimes the problem of incommensurability is...

An Economic Idea of Welfare

In economic theory the individual well-being of a consumer i is represented by a utility function u (x, G), where x. stands for the individual consumption of so-called private goods (i.e., those that are individually acquired, perhaps in different quantities by every consumer), and G is the consumption of so-called public goods (by definition identical for all consumers). Since the mid-twentieth century, economic theory has applied the Bergson Samuelson function of economic welfare W(xp . . . ,...

Assessments with Indicators

Sampling of the principal integrated assessments at the international level illustrates the different ways indicators are being used today and the significant progress that has been made in the last decade. In most cases, the indicators are illustrative, providing numerical and graphical support to reinforce a text-based assessment. Generally such indicators are used only where good data are available, and many parts of the assessment may have little or no indicator support for this reason....

Defining the Subdomains of Sustainable Development Enhancing Methodological Transparency in Indicator Formulation

The concept of sustainable development recognizes that life depends on the earth's biophysical support systems. The state of the planet and its ecosystems is at least in part but often almost wholly a consequence of past and present human activity, determined by the interplay of social, economic, and political factors. Any overall indicator of the state or trends in sustainable use of the planet must reflect this interplay of Earth systems and ecological dynamics with economics, politics, and...

State of the Debate on Institutional Sustainability in Practice

In development circles, the crucial role of institutional sustainability has long been recognized, in particular on the micro level, although with a narrow definition. This situation is at least partly the result of the systematic neglect of social structure in the dominant neoclassical economic paradigm, which has sidelined institutional and evolutionary economics in the North but is not as hegemonic in development economics. In development practice, the usual understanding of institutional is...

Environmental Relevance of MFA and Implications for Policymakers

The introduction of the new framework of sustainable development in the Brundtland report (World Commission on Environment and Development 1987) focused policy interest on material management policies and accounts and has increased the importance of MFA. Before looking at MFA indicators in detail, we would like to look at how MFA can be linked to different policies. In general, environmental impacts of material flows result from the specific impact (per ton) multiplied by the volume of the...

Typology of Indicator Designs

The DPSIR framework has analytical significance for indicators in a policy context. In such a context, environmental indicators are used for three major purposes To supply information on environmental problems, in order to enable policymakers to evaluate their seriousness (this is especially important for new and emerging issues) To support policy development and priority setting by highlighting key factors or places in the cause-and-effect chain that cause pressure on the environment and that...

Institutions as a Dimension of Sustainability

Institutions are defined differently by different disciplines an in-depth analysis shows that a definition from political science is the most appropriate one in the sustainable development context. For instance, sociology and economics analyze two different directions of interaction (humans on organizations and vice versa), and historical analysis refers to organizations and cultural rules. In contrast, political science focuses on what is essential for a normative concept, the conditions or...

Arthur Lyon Dahl

The progress being made in assessing sustainability can be illustrated best through some examples of specific indicators and indices measuring key properties or processes in the human environment system. These indicators help to define significant dimensions of sustainability more clearly, often in a way that is directly relevant to policy targets or that highlights areas for management action. Chapter 12, Indicators of Natural Resource Use and Consumption, shows the usefulness of material flow...

The Role of Indicators

Although health, environment, and development problems differ in various regions of the world, as do priorities in respect to their management, in all situations decision makers and the public at large need ready access to accurate information on health hazards associated with the links between development and the environment. In the health and environment area, as in other areas, information is needed to monitor and assess trends, identify and prioritize problems, develop and evaluate policies...

Methodology Overview for Indicators

UN Division for Sustainable Development Indicators of Sustainable Development Guidelines and Methodologies, UN, 2001. This publication represents the outcome of a work program on indicators of sustainable development approved by the Commission on Sustainable Development at its Third Session in 1995. The successful completion of the work program is the result of an intensive effort of collaboration between governments, international organizations, academic institutions, nongovernmental...

Stephen Hall

After more than 10 years of experience in developing and using sustainable development indicators, in 2005 the United Kingdom established its third generation of indicators to support a new sustainable development strategy. When sustainable development indicators were first established, the proactive use of indicators and targets in government was in its infancy. The first set of indicators therefore was breaking new ground. By the second generation of indicators, there had been a proliferation...

Literature Cited

Hammond, Y. Moriguchi, E. Rodenburg, D. Rogich, and H. Sch tz. 1997. Resource flows The material basis of industrial economies. Washington, DC World Resources Institute. Baha'i International Community. 1998. Valuing spirituality in development Initial considerations regarding the creation ofspiritually based indicators for development. London Baha'i Publishing Trust. Dahl, A. L. 1996. The eco principle Ecology and economics in symbiosis. London Zed Books Oxford...

Joachim H Spangenberg

Sustainable development is a complex concept, as several chapters in this volume illustrate. It is essentially a normative concept calling for a decent quality of life for all the earth's citizens now and in future, to be provided within the limits of the environment's carrying capacity. Its strategic core approach is the delimitation of responsibilities in space and time and the integration of policy domains for coherent strategies. This includes environmental objectives (respecting ecological...

Nina Eisenmenger Marina Fischer Kowalski and Helga Weisz

The limits to growth debate in the 1970s was concerned with exponential growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP) and population, which were seen as major drivers of resource use and waste production (Meadows et al. 1972 Hardin 1968 Ehrlich and Holdren 1971). The main environmental concern was resource scarcity of nonrenew-able raw materials and environmental and health damage through growing amounts of toxic wastes and emissions. In the 1980s, when earlier expectations about the exhaustion...

HANPP An Introduction

Plants absorb solar radiation and, through photosynthesis, transform it into chemically stored energy. This process is called primary production. A part of the fixed energy is used for the plant's metabolism the remainder either results in an accumulation of biomass stocks or nourishes humans, animals, fungi, or microorganisms that is, it becomes part of heterotrophic food chains (Odum 1971). Net primary production (NPP) is the net amount of primary production after the costs of plant...

Example The Latin American and Caribbean Initiative for Sustainable Development

If an inventory of existing indicators were performed, many of them undoubtedly would fall into the class of first- and second-generation indicators. In other words, we have been providing specifics while failing to show national decision makers, clearly and explicitly, the relationship between the environment and societal consumption patterns. Could this be one of the reasons we have failed to move politicians to a more proactive approach to sustainable development, as pointed out by Topfer...

Addressing the Context of Sustainability Sustainable Development Models and the Gearsd Approach

The EEA role in the SD policy process lies mainly in ensuring that environmental concerns are addressed at an appropriate level in progress reports or when new policy proposals are being developed (sustainability impact assessment). Assessing and reporting on progress with SD is a difficult and complex task. Current international SD reporting initiatives, such as the EU Spring Council reporting (using the structural indicators) and ongoing work of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development...

The Dashboard of Sustainability

Fortunately, this idea is not new, so a lot of the legwork has already been done. There have been several attempts to produce indices aiming at a replacement of GDP, such as the Human Development Index (HDI), published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), together with the annual Human Development Report.2 However, very few have the ambition to give comprehensive coverage of today's most important political debates. Perhaps the most advanced example is the Dashboard of Sus-...

HANPP and Landscape Diversity

A recent empirical analysis focused on a study area of2,864 km2 around St. P lten, the capital of lower Austria. This study was conducted at the scale of 1 X 1 km plots and asked to what extent a variety of landscape ecological indicators depended on HANPP (Wrbka et al. 2004). The study showed that HANPP was clearly, monotonously, and highly significantly correlated with two indicators of landscape naturalness hemeroby and urbanity (Figure 17.1). The urbanity index analyzes the domination of...

Theoretical Basis for Biodiversity Definitions

A scientific definition of biodiversity might be the complexity of living systems at all organization levels. Many definitions are valid in the context of their specific use, and no simple definition can cover all aspects natural versus human-altered diversity, evenness versus richness, the various spatial (a, b, and g biodiversity) and temporal dimensions (phylogenetic biodiversity), and the biological incompatibilities of increasing diversity at all organizational levels simultaneously....

The Dpsir Framework and the Policy Life Cycle

When designing indicator lists, conscious use should be made of the DPSIR framework and the policy life cycle (Figure 8.4). For problems that are at the beginning of their policy life cycle (i.e., the stage of issue identification), indicators on the state of the environment and on impacts play a major role (Figure 8.5). In theory, sentinel indicators could play an important role giving advance warning of alarming developments in the Figure 8.3. DPSEEA model of environmental health (WHO 2002)....

The Dpsir Analytical Framework

To structure thinking about the interplay between the environment and socioeconomic activities, the EEA uses the driving force, pressure, state, impact, and response (DPSIR) framework, a slightly extended version of the well-known Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) model (Figure 8.1). This is used to help design assessments, identify indicators, and communicate results and can support improved environmental monitoring and information collection. According to the DPSIR...

Direct Material Input DMI

DMI comprises all materials that enter a socioeconomic production process. It encompasses DE and imports. In many studies, DMI used to be the main indicator for material use. Upon further analysis, however, it proved to be difficult to interpret as soon as international trade becomes a substantial component of material input. On one hand, a shift from producing domestically toward importing commodities reduces DMI in a country (because all wastes generated during extraction and production are...

Rusong Wang and Juergen Paulussen

China is experiencing rapid urbanization and industrial transition. In China one can find nearly all levels of development, from highly developed cities to poor, underdeveloped rural communities. Ecosustainability can be ensured only with an understanding of the complex interactions between environmental, economic, political, and sociocultural factors and with careful planning and management grounded in ecological principles. Sustainability assessment indicators (SAIs) in China were initiated...

Yasmin von Schirnding

From international meetings held since Rio 1992, it has become evident that health issues are an increasingly important item on the broad environment and development agenda and that environmental issues are receiving more prominence on the public health agenda (von Schirnding 1998). Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, negotiated in Johannesburg, placed much emphasis on the importance of health and included a chapter dedicated to human health. Health was also singled out as...

The Telos Method

According to Telos, sustainable development can be defined as a balanced increase in quantity and quality of three forms of capital Sociocultural capital the physical and mental well-being of people Economic capital healthy economic improvement According to Telos, three criteria must be met before one can speak of sustainable development The approach should be integral. Improvement of one capital cannot take place at the expense of one or both of the other two.1 The development should be...