Title: Sustainable development indicators: towards integrated systems as a tool for managing and monitoring a complex transition

Authors: Joachim H. Spangenberg

Addresses: UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Vorsterstr. 97-99, D-51103 Cologne, Germany

Abstract: The situation for developing indicators is not clear-cut, but characterised by three dilemmata making it particularly challenging. Only by combining a strategic approach with short-term flexibility, the effort can be successful. These dilemmas are characterised as Indicators vs. Indicator Systems, Themes vs. Systems and Governance insufficiencies. To address them, a systematic approach to sustainability indicators is suggested, based on first defining objectives and strategies in a systematic fashion. In a second step, indicators can be derived and boiled down to a set of headline indicators, as illustrated by a set of indicators suggestions resulting from several European research projects.

Keywords: sustainable development; sustainability indicators; indicator systems; policy dilemmas; policy integration; delimitation; sustainability prism; pressure-policy matrix; sustainability strategies; governance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGENVI.2009.027261

International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 2009 Vol.9 No.4, pp.318 - 337

Published online: 19 Jul 2009 *

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