Selection Process for Sustainable Development Indicators

Home Page Button Comments Button Glossary Button

The process for selecting Sustainable Development Indicators (SDI) is as important (or perhaps more important) than the SDI themselves. If people have faith in the selection process, they will believe in the SDI. Fair and open selection with wide participation will produce a comprehensive set of SDI relevant to a broad range of views and philosophies. Only a well documented process will assure the broad participation necessary to select useful SDI. To this end, this defines the process, procedures, and rules used by the SDI Group to select SDI for the United States.

The SDI Group's annual selection process chooses a small number of indicators most relevant to sustainable development. The process repeats every year to assure that the selected indicators evolve over time as our knowledge and experience on sustainable development increases. Anyone can participate in the selection process. The SDI Group will provide participants with appropriate procedures and instructions.

Step 1, Define Goals and Objectives: The SDI Group will develop the goals and objectives of sustainable development indicator selection process. As the primary goal, the SDI Group will select the 1997 SDI by the end of the 1996 calendar year. The SDI Group will also construct an SDI Framework and develop a suitable selection process.

Step 2, Define SDI Framework: The SDI Group will create an SDI Framework SDI Framework based on the concept of endowments, their output, and the processes that act upon them. The SDI Framework should be all-inclusive, use existing classification systems (when possible), and relate to other frameworks.

Step 3, Develop Candidate SDI List: The SDI Group will develop a list of Candidate SDI. A Candidate SDI is an indicator identified as related to or relevant to sustainable development. Each Candidate SDI must relate to the SDI Framework and to issues of concern as well as meet form and format requirements.

Step 4, Review Candidate SDI and Select Proposed SDI: The SDI Group will select a set of 10-20 Proposed SDI from the Candidate SDI List. A Proposed SDI is a Candidate SDI that most directly measures at least one aspect of sustainable development in the United States. Selection criteria ensure that Proposed SDI represent those multi-generation, large-scale, high-cost (or high gain) phenomena most related to sustainable development.

Step 5, Review Proposed SDI: The SDI Group will present the Proposed SDI List for internal and external review. Review criteria ensure consistancy and balance.

Step 6, Get Data: The SDI Group will select the most appropriate data available for each Proposed SDI. Schedule and budget constraints limit the selection to "off-the-shelf" data sets already routinely published by the Federal government. Selection criteria will assure that the SDI Group will choose the best data available that most closely represents the Proposed SDI.

Step 7, Write Final Report: The SDI Group will write a report summarizing the results of the 1996 selection cycle.