by: Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
Sustainable development is a popular and important concept, but one that is open to a variety of interpretations. Since the 1987 Brundtland report (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987), many researchers in universities, environmental organizations, think-tanks, national governments and international agencies have offered proposals for measuring sustainable development. The wide variety of indicators in existing national and international policy-based sets testifies to the difficulty of the challenge.
The Joint UNECE/OECD/Eurostat Working Group on Statistics for Sustainable Development was established in 2005 to identify good concepts and practices to assist national governments and international organizations in the design of sustainable development indicator sets. The aim of the Working Group was to develop a broad conceptual framework for measuring sustainable development with the concept of capital at its centre, and to identify a small set of indicators that
might become the core set for international comparisons.