1. Strangely enough, high GDP growth is rarely interpreted as, "We got richer, wow!" In most cases, the interpretation is, "That's good for employment." Such abuse of GDP growth as an unemployment forecasting indicator is very popular in the media but is misleading because it says nothing about long-term unemployment.

2. Available at

3. The figure is illustrative. The Dashboard software allows up to ten main segments and more than two hundred indicators.

4. High urbanization gets a negative score. In richer countries, urbanization is not necessarily bad; for example, people in the countryside use their cars more often. In poor countries, though, the modern infrastructure needed to run a mega-city such as Lagos or Manila puts a heavy economic and resource burden on the hinterland. A conclusive assessment of the pros and cons of urbanization in poor countries is lacking.

5. High energy use gets negative scores in light of dwindling resources and rising prices. It might be argued that in poor countries commercial energy use entails an improvement of living conditions, but where should we draw the line between "good" and "bad" energy? At the level of India, China, or Mexico? Why not Canada? Also, living conditions (e.g., diseases, infant mortality) have their own indicators, so using energy use as a proxy would mean double-counting. However, I would add "percentage of population with access to electricity" as a positive energy indicator if data were available.

6. The y axis of Figure 5.7 shows calculated performance points, and the x axis displays the country's position in the ranking.

7. See Indicators of sustainable development: Guidelines and methodologies, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, natlinfo/indicators/indisd/indisd-mg2001.pdf.

8. Available from Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2001, ISBN 92-894-1101-5; also available at veroeffe/EN/thema8/entwickl.htm.

9. Road map towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration, A/56/326, available at documents/un/unpan004152.pdf.

10. Google "omitted some entries very similar to the 257 already displayed." For "MDG indicators," Google claims 38,700 hits, but only 544 pages are found.

11. The UN Division for Sustainable Development recently started reflections on how to better integrate the CSD and MDG indicator sets; see "Indicators of Sustainable Development: Proposals for a Way Forward," by Laszlo Pinter, Peter Hardi, and Peter Bartelmus, available at Indicators/crp2.pdf.

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