OECD World Forum on Key Indicators -- Overview


Over the last decade, OECD countries and the European Union have been developing sets of indicators to evaluate the evolution of economic, social and environmental phenomena, as well as the quality of policies undertaken by public authorities. The indicators are widely used to perform benchmarking exercises and to assess relative performances of national or local communities. 

A few countries have launched comprehensive “national projects”, sustained by the highest policy authorities, to produce regular reports based on an agreed set of indicators covering economic, social and environmental domains.
The OECD acts as a catalyst to promote research and information sharing among countries, allowing them to compare strategies intended to measure and assess the overall “position” and “progress” of a certain political entity (country, region, etc.) vis-à-vis other similar entities.  The project, which is not intended to develop any comprehensive set of international indicators or reports, is based on two pillars:

  • Project-based collaborative research: to conduct a comparative analysis of experiences already available in OECD countries in this domain, deriving lessons learned and topics for discussion that will help build knowledge on how meaningful indicators systems are developed and used and frame issues to be taken up by OECD countries;
  • An organised community of practice: to establish an ongoing international forum where policy makers, parliamentarians, experts from academia and other interested parties (business associations, trade unions, NGOs, etc.) would meet periodically to analyse best practices and new developments in the area of quantitative assessment of the overall performance (progress) of various types of political (or administrative) entities.

To maximise the degree of interaction among participants, as well as the efficiency of the meeting, the Forum will be organised from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday afternoon.  This will allow participants to exchange views and establish contacts beyond the working sessions. The Forum structure is based on plenary and parallel sessions. In particular, there will be:

  • Four plenary sessions with presentations on best practices developed by countries representing various world regions (Australia, United States of America, Ireland and Italy);
  • One plenary session where the international dimension of the development of key indicators for policy making will be presented and discussed (European Union and OECD);
  • One plenary session where the role of key indicators for fostering policy coherence will be discussed with the involvement of Heads of Prime Minister’s Cabinet Offices;
  • Two plenary sessions with keynote speakers who will present their “vision” of future developments of modern societies;
  • Four groups of four parallel sessions each, covering thematic areas including: Information domains, Process building, Advocacy and numeracy for key indicators, Uses of key indicators for policy making. 

Papers and publications based on key indicators developed in various OECD countries will be made available to all participants before the Forum. In addition, the OECD will prepare background papers on various issues, highlighting the “state of the art” on key indicators in selected subject-matter areas (environment, education, society, etc.). These papers will be presented in technical workshops held on Wednesday afternoon, just before the official starting of the Forum.


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