Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Indicator Selection Criteria, Part III

OK, here's an environmental indicator selection criteria set from Down Under that I liked for its simplicity. It's from Australia's Department of the Environment and Water Resources, Australian Antarctic Division:

Indicator selection criteria

The selection criteria for environmental indicators have been adopted from State of the Environment Reporting: Framework for Australia (Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1994). Indicators contains only those indicators that satisfy the majority of the criteria.

Environmental indicators should:

  • Serve as a robust indicator of environmental change;
  • Reflect a fundamental or highly-valued aspect of the environment or an important environmental issue;
  • Be either national in scope or applicable to regional environmental issues of national significance;
  • Provide an early warning of potential problems;
  • Be capable of being monitored to provide statistically verifiable and reproducible data that shows trends over time and, preferably, apply to a broad range of environmental regions;
  • Be scientifically credible;
  • Be easy to understand;
  • Be monitored with relative ease;
  • Be cost-effective;
  • Have relevance to policy and management needs;
  • Contribute to monitoring of progress towards implementing commitments in nationally important environmental policies;
  • Where possible and appropriate, facilitate community involvement;
  • Contribute to the fulfilment of reporting obligations under international agreements;
  • Where possible and appropriate, use existing commercial and managerial indicators; and
  • Where possible and appropriate, be consistent and comparable with other countries’ and State and territory indicators.


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