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United Nations Organizations' Indicators

United Nations

Millennium Development Goals - September 2000

The goals focus the efforts of the world community on achieving significant, measurable improvements in people's lives. They establish yardsticks for measuring results, not just for develop-ing countries but for rich countries that help to fund development programs and for the multilateral institutions that help countries implement them.

Goals and indicators:
http://www.developmentgoals.org/ About_the_goals.htm

Millennium Indicators Database available from the UN Statistics Division:

UN Division for Sustainable Development

Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) - Indicators Programme

As part of the implementation of the Work Programme on Indicators of Sustainable Development (ISDs) adopted by CSD at its Third Session in April 1995, a working list of 134 indicators and related methodology sheets were developed, improved and tested at the national level by the world. Based on the voluntary national testing and expert group consultation, a revised set of 58 indicators and methodology sheets are now available for all countries to use.

Programme of Work of the Division for Sustainable Development on Indicators of Sustainable Development
web site at: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/natlinfo/ indicators/isd.htm

Describes the work programme of the Division for Sustainable Development on indicators and the various reports produced, including those below.

Indicators of Sustainable Development: Framework and Methodologies - 2001
Contains the revised set of 58 core indicators and methodology sheets.
http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/natlinfo/indicators/ isdms2001/table_4.htm

Report on the Aggregation of Indicators of Sustainable Development - 2001
Background Paper No. 2 for the 9th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations, New York


Meetings conferences and workshops on Indicators of Sustainable Development

Indicators of Sustainable Development: Framework and Methodologies - 1996
United Nations, New York, August 1996 - 428 p. The original "blue book" used by the testing countries from 1996-2001 and reported in their country reports. Includes methodologies for 134 indicators  in the CSD Working List organized in the Driving Force - State - Response Framework.

- http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/natlinfo/indicators/ indisd/ english/ english.htm

- http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/natlinfo/indicators/ indisd/ french/ francais.htm

- http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/natlinfo/indicators/ indisd/ spanish/ espanol.htm

UN Statistics Division

The UN Statistics Division (UNSD) compiles statistics from many international sources and produces global updates.

Unrestricted free access is provided to selected global datasets, such as the Millennium Indicators Database, which presents 48 social and economic indicators and related series by country and year since 1985, and the Social Indicators data set.

UNSD developed a list of environmental indicators in collaboration with the Inter-governmental Working Group on the Advancement of Environment Statistics.


Indicators of sustainable development:
Selected FAO activities, 1998


Use of Indicators in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, by Jeff Tschirley, Sustainable Development Environment and Natural Resources Service (SDRN), FAO Research, Extension and Training Division, March 1996


UNDP Human Development Index

UNDP Human Development Reports, issued each year, include human development indicators for 175 countries, summarized in the Human Development Index

Human Development Indicators 2002

United Nations Environment Programme


An Overview of Environmental Indicators: State of the art and perspectives
J. A. Bakkes, G.J. van den Born, J.C. Helder and R.J. Swart, C.W. Hope and J.D.E. Parker

RIVM/UNEP, 1994.  UNEP/EATR.94-01    RIVM/402001001

The GHG Indicator: UNEP Guidelines for Calculating Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Businesses and Non-Commercial Organisations prepared by Charles Thomas, Tessa Tennant and Jon Rolls for the UNEP Financial Services Initiatives, available as a pdf document at
 http://www.uneptie.org/energy//act/ ef/GHGin/docs/GHG_Indicator.pdf , June 2000. The Guidelines provide a methodology to account and report on greenhouse gas emissions, whereby information on fuel and energy use readily obtained by companies, governments, NGOs and other entities is converted and aggregated to compute GHG emissions. The step-by-step approach is accompanied by worksheets.

SCOPE/UNEP Reports on Indicators of Sustainable Development

SUSTAINABILITY INDICATORS: Report of the project on Indicators of Sustainable Development.  Bedrich Moldan and Suzanne Billharz (editors).  SCOPE 58.
John Wiley & Sons, Chichester and New York, 1997 - 415 p.

Published on behalf of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Commission of the European Communities, DGXI and DGXII, and Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany.

The SCOPE project collected, coordinated and synthesized work on sustainability indicators from around the world.  This book assembles a rich diversity of perspectives and approaches, described by more than 50 contributors from many different countries and cultures working in a wide range of fields and organizations at all levels.

Other reports from the SCOPE/UNEP project available in printed form from Earthwatch:

Report of the Workshop on Indicators of Sustainable Development for Decision-Making.
Ghent, Belgium, 9-11 January 1995

UNEP/EAP.MR/95.1 - 128 p.

SCOPE Scientific Workshop on Indicators of Sustainable Development.
Wuppertal, Germany, 15-17 November 1995

Charles University Environmental Center, Prague, 1996 - 69 p.


The Global Urban Observatory of UN-Habitat includes an Urban Indicators Programme.
Urban indicators are regularly collected in a sample of cities worldwide in order to report on progress in the twenty key areas of the Habitat Agenda at the city level. Data collection is conducted through local and national urban observatories as well as through selected regional institutions. The global urban indicators database 2 contains policy-oriented indicators for more than 200 cities worldwide. Its results have been analyzed and incorporated in the State of the World's Cities Report 2001.

Urban Indicators:
http://www.unhabitat.org/programmes/guo/ guo_indicators.asp
Guide to Urban Indicators: http://www.unhabitat.org/guo/gui/guide.html

A Global Analysis of Urban Indicators: http://www.unhabitat.org/guo/gui/analysis.htm

World Bank


Indicators web page: http://www.worldbank.org/environmentaleconomics/

World Development Indicators 2003: The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the World Bank's premier annual compilation of data about development. WDI 2003 includes approx. 800 indicators in 87 tables, organized in six sections: World View, People, Environment, Economy, States and Markets, and Global Links. The tables cover 152 economies and 14 country groups-with basic indicators for a further 55 economies. Published April 2003 by World Bank ISBN: 0-8213-5422-1 SKU: 15422
Also available: WDI 2000, 2001 & 2002.

Indicators of Environment and Sustainable 2003 (421KB PDF)

Little Green Data Book. The Little Green Data Book is based on the World Development Indicators, 2003 and is the result of close collaboration between the staff of the Development Economics Data Group, and the Environment Department. April 2003
Also available for 2002.

Poverty — Environment Indicators. Environmental Economics Series, Paper No. 84.The World Bank Environment Department. Priya Shyamsundar. January 2002

Expanding the Measure of Wealth: Indicators of Environmentally Sustainable Development
Environmentally Sustainable Development Studies and Monographs Series, Number 17. The World Bank, Washington, D.C., March 1997 - 110 p.  For the methods used to compile the wealth estimates, see Kunte, A., K. Hamilton, J. Dixon, M. Clemens, Estimating National Wealth: Methodology and Results, Environmental Economics Series, Paper Number 57. The World Bank, January 1998.

Monitoring Environmental Progress: A Report on Work In Progress
ESD - Environmentally Sustainable Development

The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1995 - 82 p.

World Health Organization

Health in Sustainable Development Planning: The role of indicators by Dr Yasmin von Schirnding, WHO, 2002

Environmental health indicators: framework and methodology, Geneva, WHO, 1999, available in pdf format

Land Quality Indicators Initiative

Land Quality Indicators and their Use in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development
Proceedings of the Workshop organized by the Land and Water Development Division, FAO Agriculture Department, and the Research, Extension and Training Division, FAO Sustainable Development Department, 25-26 January 1996.

FAO Land and Water Bulletin 5, Rome, 1997 - 212 p.




UNEP/DEWA/Earthwatch 1996-2003