Keywords: national framework, indicators, monitoring, sustainability, sustainable development, Switzerland, social solidarity, economic efficiency, environmental responsibility
MONET indicator system: the Swiss road to measuring sustainable development
This paper examines the question of how to build a system of sustainable development indicators that takes into account the needs of users but nevertheless adheres to the principles of impartiality, independence and transparency of public statistics. The approach used in Switzerland on a national level to face this challenge is a three-step process: establishing a frame of reference, developing a systemic structure and having all federal offices involved take part in selecting the sustainable development indicators. The development of the whole system took more than three years. The frame of reference consists of three primary objectives: 'social solidarity', 'economic efficiency' and 'environmental responsibility', as well as a set of 45 sustainable development postulates describing the direction to be taken towards these primary objectives. The systemic structure, which is based on a stock-flow model, comprises five sustainable development processes to be measured by indicators.