Indicator Users

At least ten categories of users, with very different needs, can be identified. These users can be clustered into three main groups. The first needs very simple, structured information and includes voters, the broader (nonspecialist) media, and decision makers. The second category needs an intermediate level of detail and simplicity and includes local government, policy implementers and checkers, NGOs, research funding bodies, and industry. The third category needs technical information: policymakers, academics, and some NGOs.

It is useful to distinguish between decision makers and policymakers. Decision makers typically are ministers and parliamentarians, policy implementers and checkers such as regulatory bodies, environmental protection agencies, and NGOs that can deal with technical details and disseminate information to the public. Policymakers are a distinct, expert group of scientists, economists, and social scientists who design policy portfolios, evaluate policy alternatives, and construct and evaluate indicators of sustainability. This category also includes the non—politically appointed civil servants who undertake some of the underpinning research and brief ministers.

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