“Reforms for Measuring Welfare and Wealth in the Context of Sustainable Development”

2 - 3 December 2010, Berlin, Germany

The 6th ESDN Workshop took place on 2-3 December 2010 in Berlin, Germany. The workshop was entitled "Reforms for Measuring Welfare and Wealth in the Context of Sustainable Development".

The recent financial and economic crisis and the challenges posed by various sustainable development issues (e.g. climate change, natural resource consumption, poverty reduction, etc.) led to a questioning of conventional approaches of economic growth and of traditional means of measuring progress, wealth and prosperity in our societies only in terms of growth domestic product (GDP). Since several years, international, European and national institutions have engaged in developing measuring systems for progress and wealth that aim to go “beyond GDP” and that increasingly take into account sustainable development. Among them are the EU’s initiative “Beyond GDP – measuring progress, true wealth and the well-being of nations”, the work of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress which was established by the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, and led by the Nobel prize winner, Joseph Stiglitz, as well as a global project on “Measuring the Progress of Societies” which is hosted by the OECD and run in collaboration with other international and regional partners. All these initiatives and their work have not only found their way into statistical offices but have also spurred lively political debates. Generally, the ways and means of how to measure progress, wealth and prosperity play a crucial role in the concepts and implementation of national sustainable development strategies and strategies that aim at linking economic growth and sustainable development (e.g. Europe 2020 strategy, OECD’s Green Growth Strategy, UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative). The workshop contributed to current discussion on “beyond GDP” by focussing on questions such as:  What are the linkages and challenges between sustainable development policies and measurement? What is the current status of international and national reform processes to measure welfare and wealth? Which options for concrete actions are possible on the national level and in cooperation among countries?

Keynote presentations
Session 1: International and national measurement approaches–Latest developments

Defining linkages and challenges between sustainable development policy and welfare measurement

Ian Johnson: Secretary-General, Club of Rome

Country Islands
Session 2: Recommendations for action on measuring welfare and wealth in the context of sustainable development