To assess sustainable development (SD), new approaches are needed to deal with the issues of system complexity, uncertainty, and ignorance. The necessary information must be condensed and made accessible to a wide and diverse audience ranging from policymakers, decision makers, and citizens who are striving to apply both precaution and prevention. These new and increasingly demanding challenges put a spotlight on the manner and underlying assumptions of knowledge creation. This chapter reviews some key approaches to building sustainability indicators, underlying models, and frameworks for evaluating complex evidence, all needed for a thorough appraisal of progress toward SD. The chapter begins by analyzing policy integration indicators, a key approach to addressing unsustainable development. It goes on to critique the SD models in use and describes how they can be misleading in the development of relevant indicators. Without a frame of reference for assessing the meaning of the generated indicators where there are complexities and uncertainties, the results can be difficult to interpret. Therefore, this chapter concludes with a framework for evaluating complex scientific evidence on environmental factors in disease causation.
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