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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

E-Conference on Sustainable Development, Indicators, and the Internet

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is hosting an E-conference on Internet Governance and Sustainable Development September 17 to 28.

Their description follows:

From September 17 to 28, IISD is hosting an e-conference to engage researchers, practitioners and policy analysts in an open discussion on the intersections between Internet governance and sustainable development. Your participation will help advance the debate. See below for details.

Click here to join the discussion.

The E-conference grew out of the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Conversations involving sustainable development, internet governance, and information and communication technology (ICT) led to a series of exploratory papers and this e-conference, which invites feedback and discussion, using those papers as a launching point.

It's all done through online listserves. The five discussion areas for the e-conference are:

  • governance processes;
  • economic barriers to development;
  • the capacity of developing countries to participate in international governance;
  • access to local knowledge as a critical input to decision-making; and
  • indicators for development.

The issue area for "Indicators for Development" uses these two issue papers and the following description:

Christoph Stork and Clark Miller describe some of the existing ICT and SD indicators, and suggest ways to make them more meaningful for evaluating results. Stork distinguishes between access, usage and impact indicators, among other types, pointing out that impact indicators, as derivatives of primary or secondary data, are most useful in gauging the impact of ICTs on sustainable development. Miller examines traditional indicators of sustainability, and points to the need to establish indicators customized at the community level—an observation that could be especially useful for designing effective derivative indicators noted by Stork.

The conversation itself is interesting, and so is the format for the conversation, which has brought together practitioners from around the world. Take a peek at what they're doing for both content and ideas for how future discussions in the world of indicators could be conducted.

(My only suggestion is that the listserve comments get threaded for easier archive and search purposes -- it's sometimes hard to follow or catch up with a conversation, and e-mails get really long if they've got to trail all previous comments with them to maintain context. The layout of the messages within the web software is also kind of quirky. But that's a quibble with the Lyris software, not with IISD.)


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