Background Papers

NGO Documents on Indicators of Sustainable Development


NGO Documents for the Earth Summit, 1992

Non-Governmental Organization Alternative Treaties at the '92 Global Forum

Treaty 11. Treaty on Alternative Economic Models

15. Human and economic development indicators should no longer exclusively or principally reflect material growth and technological advance but must take into account individual, social and environmental well-being. Such indicators would include health, gender equalities, unpaid family work, equalization in the distribution of income, better care of children and the maximization of human happiness with minimal use of resources and minimal generation of waste.




NGO Documents for the Earth Summit, 1992

Non-Governmental Organization Alternative Treaties at the '92 Global Forum

Treaty 17. Treaty on Consumption and Lifestyle

25. Develop new concepts of wealth and associated indicators of development for individuals, communities and nations which support new models of socio-economic and human development which are equitable, environmentally sustainable and which recognize the full range of human aspirations



Towards Earth Summit II, 23-27 June 1997
Recommendations for Actions and Commitments at Earth Summit II
Non-Governmental Organization Revised Draft Background Paper

4.2 Indicators of Sustainability

We call for: Recognition of the need to use indicators appropriately as a tool for community decision making. Data must be objective as possible, and all 'interests' must be involved (everyone who is impacted). As governments we commit to promote grass roots women's participation, particularly those involved in the Habitat process, and gender training for local Agenda 21 groups.

Implementation: The involvement of the stakeholder in the choice of indicators at the local, national and international level is fundamentally important, and top down, non-representative processes should not be tolerated. The CSD should, with governments and others, ensure many processes continue in the next five years of work of the CSD.

Rationale: The indicators that are measured should evoke happiness when they are improving and unhappiness when they are getting worse. If the change doesn't matter to the community, then you are not monitoring the right thing. If the process of developing the shared knowledge, shared understanding and shared vision for the future of your community isn't enjoyable, then you should figure out a different way to do it. In assessing progress toward the goals in Chapter 40 of Agenda 21, it will be much easier to measure activity than to evaluate results. There have been many important and well-conducted international, national and local initiatives dedicated to producing better and more relevant data. No one process represents any major groups or communities nor speaks for them. In developing information and indicators there is no one right way for a community to proceed. There are a variety of models from which one might choose, and there are more models all the time. Communities all over the world in vastly different economic, political, social and environmental circumstances, are experimenting with ways and means to develop information and indicators for neighborhoods, communities or nations. Through the process they are also building consensus on what actually matters to the future of the groups involved.