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Key Message

IISD contributes to the sustainability transition by helping societies define, chart, assess and ultimately navigate the way forward.


Dimple Roy· Dimple Roy
Director, Water
Mark Anielski· Mark Anielski
Stephan Barg· Stephan Barg
Livia Bizikova· Livia Bizikova
Senior Researcher
Robert B. Brennan· Robert B. Brennan
Senior Fellow and Associate
David B. Brooks· David B. Brooks
Richard Grosshans· Richard Grosshans
Senior Research Scientist
Peter Hardi· Peter Hardi
Richard Lawford· Richard Lawford
Jim Perry· Jim Perry
László Pintér· László Pintér
Senior Fellow and Associate
Todd Scaletta· Todd Scaletta
Charles Thrift· Charles Thrift
Project Manager
Bishunarine Tulsie· Bishunarine Tulsie
Stephen Tyler· Stephen Tyler
Vivek Voora· Vivek Voora
Karla Zubrycki· Karla Zubrycki
Project Manager
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Robert Smith· Robert Smith
Ingeborg Niestroy· Ingeborg Niestroy
Pauline Gerrard· Pauline Gerrard
Project Manager
Kimberly Lewtas· Kimberly Lewtas
Research Assistant

Measurement and Assessment

Navigating the sustainability transition

What's New in Measurement and Assessment?

  • Sustainable Consumption and Production: Targets and Indicators
    The present advance copy of this discussion paper provides insights into potential targets and indicators for sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns, based on scientific literature, as well as on past and on-going international processes on sustainable development policy such as the post-2015 development agenda.

  • Measuring Progress Towards Sustainable Development Goals
    Building on an initiative led by Colombia and Guatemala, governments represented at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development provided a mandate for launching an intergovernmental process to identify sustainable development goals (SDGs). The process to develop the SDGs will run over a period of three years and conclude by 2015, the end of the implementation period for the existing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). With the end of the MDG implementation period approaching, the question of how much progress has or hasn’t been achieved is bound to feature prominently in political and scientific discourse.

    Immediately following the agreement on the SDG mandate, most of the discussion focused on the approach to developing the goals themselves and how the SDG process could be integrated with the ongoing process to define the broader post-2015 development agenda. This paper argues that SDG process planning should also pay specific attention to the development of the evidence base—particularly sustainable development goal indicators (SDGIs).

    While indicators were developed and used in reporting progress towards the MDGs, the approach to developing SDGIs must be systematically strengthened. One way to achieve this would be by designing the SDGI process (and ultimately the indicator system itself) based on a coherent set of purpose-built principles. An example of such principles is the Bellagio Sustainability Assessment and Measurement Principles or BellagioSTAMP. The question is not simply what to accept as evidence and indicators, but how these are conceptualized and developed, by whom, and how evidence informs the envisioning of transition pathways, implementation mechanisms, monitoring and reporting.

Navigating the sustainability transition requires good instruments that orient us and tell us where we are, where we may be headed and what our options are. There are instruments that can help set goals and targets, others can be used to monitor and report on progress, while some are useful in exploring alternative futures. All of them are essential for effective sustainable development strategies and adaptive management, and inform political discourse about economic, social and environmental goals.

IISD has been working to develop, enhance and apply measurement and assessment tools and processes for navigating the path to sustainable development since 1995. Our aim is to make significant local, national and international contributions, and to build the institute into a world centre of expertise in this field.