Lessons from seven sustainability indicator programs in developing countries of Asia
Journal article, 2011
Sustainability indicator programs in developing countries are the poor cousin of ecological indicator research. While an enormous number of indicators for the monitoring of sustainable development exists, few meta-evaluations on these measurements have been conducted in developing countries. Yet, researchers developing new programs face the question: how shall we design our monitoring instrument to respond to the local challenges.
By presenting a qualitative meta-performance evaluation of seven sustainability indicator programs on the municipal level in developing countries of Asia, we identify crucial success factors in this contribution. The research draws on 41 expert interviews in Indonesia, Thailand, China, and India, as well as on program-related documents. In the presented case studies, local contexts are intended to be diverse: obtained results should map success factors in different settings. A context-related list of good-practice factors is derived from the interview material via a Qualitative Content Analysis and assessed against the data.
We identify crucial strengths and weaknesses of sustainability indicator programs in six dimensions and link the success factors to their contexts. The results include innovative approaches to indicator types, data collection and data quality control, and a correlation between the anchoring of programs in approved development plans and long-term implementation. The results can provide valuable guidance to users of existing sustainability indicator programs and planners of new programs.