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News Release

Connecting the Right Data is Key to Managing Sustainability

Oliver Cann, Associate Director, Media Relations, Tel.: +971 526 418 381; E-mail:

  • The world has the data it needs to manage sustainability, but finding and connecting it remains a challenge, new report argues
  • Open approach to data and greater collaboration on standardization would boost sustainability efforts
  • World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Measuring Sustainability collaborates with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia on report. 
  • More information about the Summit on the Global Agenda 2013 is available here

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 18 November 2013 – The fight against climate change is being hampered by a lack of awareness among decision-makers on how best to measure the sustainability of resources, according to a report, Designing for Action: Principles of Effective Sustainability Measurement, published today by the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Measuring Sustainability.

The report, which was produced in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia, aims to provide an authoritative guide to decision-makers on what to measure to build resilience and sustainability in development planning.

Among other things, the report calls for greater collaboration between stakeholders and professional disciplines in designing sustainability metrics for complex systems. It also calls for the breaking down of silos, leveraging open data and for sustainability metrics to be embedded in ways that enable better visualization and more informed decision making and management of interdependent risks.

“The world has just about all the data it needs to manage the challenges of sustainability and the associated risks with food, energy and water systems,” said Marc Levy, Deputy Director, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Columbia University. “The challenge is that we don’t know where to find it. The data is spread across disciplines, sectors and jurisdictions and are largely ‘closed’ and stored in silos across a myriad of institutions.”

"This unique report from the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Measuring Sustainability contains a crucial message: we must transform our approach to public-private collaboration in order to gather the data we need to measure - and then manage - the world's sustainabilty trends," said Dominic Waughray, Senior Director, Heads of Environmental Initiatives, World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Measuring Sustainability aims to develop, incubate and deliver an integrated open platform containing information and decision-support capabilities for geospatial risk and integrated resource management at local, regional, national and global levels.

The Co-Chairs of the Summit on the Global Agenda 2013 are Nasser Ahmed AlSowaidi, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), United Arab Emirates and Sultan Saeed Nasser Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates.

Notes to Editors

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