Keywords: sustainable development, sustainability indicators, indicator systems, policy dilemmas, policy integration, delimitation, sustainability prism, pressure-policy matrix, sustainability strategies, governance
Sustainable development indicators: towards integrated systems as a tool for managing and monitoring a complex transition
The situation for developing indicators is not clear-cut, but characterised by three dilemmata making it particularly challenging. Only by combining a strategic approach with short-term flexibility, the effort can be successful. These dilemmas are characterised as Indicators vs. Indicator Systems, Themes vs. Systems and Governance insufficiencies. To address them, a systematic approach to sustainability indicators is suggested, based on first defining objectives and strategies in a systematic fashion. In a second step, indicators can be derived and boiled down to a set of headline indicators, as illustrated by a set of indicators suggestions resulting from several European research projects.