Sustainable Development Indicators

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Sustainable Development, as defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission), is the capacity to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable Development must balance the needs of society, the economy, and the environment.

Sustainable Development Indicators (SDI) are various statistical values that collectively measure the capacity to meet present and future needs. SDI will provide information crucial to decisions of national policy and to the general public.

Proposed 1997 SDI: As a first step on a long road, the Interagency Working Group on Sustainable Development Indicators (SDI Group) has selected a small group of indicators to measure progress towards sustainable development in the United States. As the SDI Group nears the end of this year's selection process, we invite you to review and comment on the Proposed 1997 SDI.

The SDI Framework organizes the basic elements of society, economy, and the environment. The SDI Framework is based on the concept of endowments, outputs, and the processes that act on both. The SDI Framework served as the foundation for selecting the Proposed 1997 SDI.

The SDI Inventory is an inventory of indicators already selected and developed by various international and national organizations, such as the United Nations and the President's Council on Sustainable Development. The SDI Group selected the Proposed 1997 SDI from the SDI Inventory.

The Selection Process explains how the SDI Group chose the Proposed 1997 SDI. The process repeats annually to assure the SDI can evolve as our knowledge and experience increases.

The SDI Group reports to the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Branch of the Federal government. The SDI Group has four principle tasks. and participants from twelve Federal departments and agencies.