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Sustainability indicators—integrating quality of life and environmental protection

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The struggle to find and use indicators of sustainable development is intimately bound up with the process of deciding what we mean by sustainable development and what we shall do about it. In this field at least, indicators are intrinsically and unavoidably normative and political. The paper proposes an approach to indicators which reflects, and can further clarify and help to achieve, an important aspect of sustainable development. The paper is written from a practical, instrumental interest in indicators as a tool to put sustainable development principles into practice in public policy. The author is not a statistician and makes no claim to technical expertise but hopes that this `barefoot' practitioner perspective may be of some interest to the professionals. The main argument is introduced by a discussion of some of the pitfalls and limitations of sustainability indicators to date.
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Keywords: Environmental limits; Indicators; Policy integration; Quality of life; Sustainability

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: CAG Consultants, London, UK

Publication date: 1998-01-01

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