Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Indicators of Sustainable Development: Guidelines and Methodologies


Indicators perform many functions. They can lead to better decisions and more effective actions by simplifying, clarifying and making aggregated information available to policy makers. They can help incorporate physical and social science knowledge into decision-making, and they can help measure and calibrate progress toward sustainable development goals. They can provide an early warning to prevent economic, social and environmental setbacks. They are also useful tools to communicate ideas, thoughts and values.
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 recognized the important role that indicators could play in helping countries make informed decisions concerning sustainable development. At the international level, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) approved its Work Programme on Indicators of Sustainable Development in 1995. The first two sets of CSD Indicators of Sustainable Development (henceforth CSD indicators) were developed between 1994 and 2001. They have been extensively tested, applied and used in many countries as the basis for the development of national indicators of sustainable development.
The new revised edition of the CSD indicators has been developed in response to decisions by the CSD and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, which encouraged further work on indicators at the country level in line with national conditions and priorities and invited the international community to support efforts of developing countries in this regard. Since the publication of the previous set, knowledge of and experience with sustainable development indicators of countries and organizations has increased significantly, as has the emphasis on measuring progress on achieving sustainable development, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), at the national and the international levels. By incorporating these developments, the revision of the CSD indicators gives vital support to countries in their efforts to develop and implement national indicators for sustainable development.
This publication presents the revised, third edition of the CSD indicators. It also provides a synopsis of their foundation. The presentation of the indicator
set explicitly addresses their relation to Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, the outcomes of the major international conferences on sustainable development in 1992 and 2002, as well as their relation to the MDG Indicators. The publication also provides guidance on applying and adapting the CSD indicators for the development of national indicator sets. The role of indicator frameworks is briefly discussed, and a succinct description of all indicators is included. Detailed methodology sheets for each indicator are included in an accompanying CD-ROM. These methodology sheets are also available on the indicators section of the webpage of the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development ( and will be regularly updated.

#18 Fish Fallacy

more about sustainability:

A Review of Urban Sustainability Assessment Methodologies

Transportation and Sustainability Best Practices Background

Towards a Sustainable Urban Form in Chiang Mai

Tackling eco-urbanity: Housing and placemaking at the urban edge


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Review of Urban Sustainability Assessment Methodologies

By Emmanuel Adinyira, Samuel Oteng-Seifah, and Theophilus Adjei-Kumi

Sustainability has emerged as a planning concept from its beginnings in economics and ecological thinking and has widely been applied to urban development. Urban sustainability is simply described as a desirable state or set of urban conditions that persists overtime. Just as the task of defining sustainability has progressed in response to early economic thinking, so has the task of its assessment. Many urban sustainability assessment methods can be identified from literature. However an examination of these methods reveals largely three methodological foundations. Focusing on the context of urban development, this paper presents an appraisal of the relative potentials and limitations of methods developed around the three identified methodological foundations. The paper agrees with the much held view that, most currently available urban sustainability assessment methods fail to demonstrate sufficient understanding of the interrelations and interdependencies of social, economic and environmental considerations. It further points to a wide gap between assessment theories and practices. To help narrow this rather wide gap, the paper recommends a pragmatic shift in focus, from theory development to application and auditing. A suggestion is made for the application of key assessment methods in a given urban area and across various issues, spatial and time scales so as to allow for method comparison. It is hoped that the parallel application of existing methods will greatly accelerate the urban sustainability assessment learning process and will help in the improvement of both theory and practice.

Ciclovia, Bogota, Colombia

More about sustainable cities:

Introduction to Achieve Sustainable Neighborhoods

Climate change and urban transportation systems

Evaluating Urban Sustainability Using Land-Use Transport Interaction Models

Assessment of development and regeneration urban projects: cultural and operational implications in metropolization context 

Measuring Socially Sustainable Urban Regeneration in Europe 

Towards a Sustainable Urban Form in Chiang Mai

Sustainable human settlements development in Latin America and the Caribbean