Consulting on new sustainable development indicators
Defra is developing a new set of sustainable development indicators to meet the Government’s commitments to transparency and sustainable development, and invites all interested stakeholders to contribute to the informal consultation, running for 12 weeks from 24th July 2012.
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Commitments to sustainable development and transparency
The Coalition Government’s Mainstreaming Sustainable Development vision reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable development. Following the Government’s wider commitment to transparency, the vision described the intention of:
“developing real and measurable indicators to monitor sustainability across government and report results publicly”
Developing new indicators
With cross-government responsibility for sustainable development, Defra has reported on sustainable development indicators since 1992. Defra is building on this extensive experience, drawing particularly on the set published annually since 2005, while taking account of new priorities, new visions and other national and international initiatives.
While the previous sustainable development indicator set had 68 indicators, the proposed new set has been streamlined and consists of 12 headline indicators and 25 supplementary indicators, covering the economy, society and environment. The indicators will be supplemented by periodic policy-specific indicator reports.
The indicators will give government ministers and officials an overview of the priorities for sustainable development, and provide the Environmental Audit Committee, stakeholders and the public with a means of evaluating progress. Updates will be published annually with a scorecard showing whether progress is in the right direction.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman explained how the new indicators will help:
“We want to help our economy, our communities and the environment to grow and flourish in a sustainable way for the benefit of future generations. We have put sustainability at the heart of everything that the Government does, and these new indicators will help us take stock of our progress and give the public the means to chart our success.
“At Rio+20 we successfully argued for the need for countries to look beyond their economic performance as a measure of progress. These indicators along with the measures of wellbeing underline our own commitment to going beyond GDP to measure the health and wealth of the UK.”
Consulting on the new indicators
The consultation consists of a consultation document, annexes and survey. The survey can be accessed and completed online after reading the online consultation document over four pages. The consultation document and annexes can also be downloaded as pdfs, and responses to the survey questions may also be submitted by email or post.
The consultation document sets out a range of issues and considerations that have led to the development of the proposed indicator set, including those relating to the streamlining of the indicator set, and its relationship with the proposed Office of National Statistics (ONS) measures of National Wellbeing. Defra encourages stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed indicators in light of the context set out in the consultation document.
Additional information on the indicators and tables of the proposed headline and supplementary indicators is available on the Proposed SD Indicators page and can be accessed in the course of the survey.
Further information on each of the proposed new indicators is also available online as part of the consultation package. The four annexes to the consultation document provide additional information: details of the proposed new indicators; details of the previous sustainable indicators, in use from 2005 to 2010; a quantitative analysis of responses to our earlier stakeholder survey; and a summary of comments on the earlier survey.
- Defra National Statistics Release (pdf): announcing the consultation
- New plans to assess UK progress towards sustainable future: Defra news item
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