Inderscience Publishers

Indicators of sustainable development: integration in decision–making process and applicability in developing countries

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Achieving sustainable development has become a major global goal reflecting the increasing concern by the public as well as decision makers over environmental issues. Although sustainable development indicators were developed to provide solid bases for decision making, many countries and in particular developing countries did not even approach sustainable development. This paper examines the challenges of measuring sustainable development indicators in developing countries. It also scrutinises the usefulness of those indicators in policy–making and their impact on decision–making process. In particular, this paper will evaluate whether the indicators have been integrated into policy–making procedures and whether they are facilitating sustainable development. Environmental data constraints, lack of coordination among concerned authorities and lack of resources impede the measurement of SDIs in developing countries. The case example of the water and sanitation conditions illustrates the ineffectiveness of integrating the SDIs into policy and decision–making processes. It is essential to have a common global core set of SDIs to alert decision makers to environmental problems, supplemented by local indicators that reflect local concerns and cultural diversity. Reporting should include analysis that links environmental factors and health outcomes that should be in turn converted to economic impacts.

Keywords: developing countries, decision making, applicability, effectiveness, integration, environmental issues, policy making, environmental data, data constraints, coordination, resources, indicator measurement, water, sanitation conditions, ineffectiveness, common indicators, global indicators, core indicators, environmental problems, local indicators, local concerns, cultural diversity, environmental factors, health outcomes, economic impacts, sustainable society, sustainable development indicators

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