Global Agenda Council on Measuring Sustainability 2012-2014
The global sustainability landscape has become increasingly complex, particularly as a greater dependency on resources for economic growth puts the planet under constant pressure. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, world leaders have signed about 500 internationally recognized agreements in the past 50 years, including 61 related to the atmosphere; 155 agreements on biodiversity; 179 related to chemicals, hazardous substances and waste; 46 land conventions; and 196 conventions broadly related to issues dealing with water. After trade, the environment is now the most common area of global rule-making. Awareness and understanding of global environmental and social problems and their trends and interrelations have increased. However, the complexity and level of uncertainty of these problems have also increased. This makes policy, investment and management decisions very difficult to develop in a rational and integrated way.
What the Council is doing about it
To address this issue, the Global Agenda Council on Measuring Sustainability aims to incorporate existing facts and figures in an open data system and use this information to enhance decision support capabilities for geospatial risk and integrated resource management. Such a system could provide a service to governments around the world. At the same time, this system could make governments more accountable to citizens. For example, citizens would have access to credible and reliable data on which to base advocacy campaigns. It could deliver reliable performance indicators for corporate responsibility, and support efforts to reassess the meaning of competitiveness in a world of resource scarcity and potential conflict.
The urgency of addressing the issues of energy, water and food security led the Council to choose food security as a prototype to develop its data platform. During the first year of this term, the Council has submitted an authoritative review of existing sustainability frameworks, which will be published in an academic journal in the next few months. This review will provide a new framework to support the rationale behind the data platform.
“After trade, the environment is now the most common area of global rule-making.”
In the coming year, the Council aims to design the data platform and is exploring:
- Processes and programmes that would encourage greater amounts of environmental data collection and sharing between scientists, governments and industry, particularly in more standardized ways
- How an open data platform would support a range of stakeholders at the country level in critical decision-making with respect to resources and risk management
The ultimate goal of the Global Agenda Council on Measuring Sustainability is to create an online data platform that can be used free of charge by the public.
To get involved please contact
Research Analyst: Jonathon Cini, Global Agenda Councils, Jonathon.Cini@weforum.org
Council Manager: William Hoffman, Associate Director, Information and Telecommunications Industries, email@example.com
Forum Lead: Dominic Waughray, Senior Director, Head of Environmental Initiatives, firstname.lastname@example.org
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