A Global Movement



A global movement is emerging and the linkage between statistical indicators, policy design and democratic assessment of the performance of a country (a region, a city, etc.) is at its core. 


Please see the chart on the Chronological Evolution of Related Measures of Progress (in PDF format) This chart presents an overview of the development of “influential” indicators. The figure shows a clear acceleration (partly because of the development of basic statistics presumably) in the development of indicators that progressively encompass more and more dimensions of societal progress.


According to a recent survey carried out by UNDP, more than 150 composite indicators have been developed by public and private institutions to measure country performance in economic, social and environmental terms. Moreover, hundreds initiatives have been launched around the world to use indicators to make national and local politicians accountable, and this is happening in developed and in developing countries.

This global movement is characterised by a great many similarities. See the Powerpoint presentation by Enrico Giovannini. Globalisation and old and new media (especially the use of Internet) are allowing more cultural exchange than ever across different continents and communities. Some indicators-based initiatives have already created networks to share good practices, well beyond the national boundaries (see more in the International Initiatives). International research societies have stimulated discussion among scholars and practitioners, resulting in growing similarities in the taxonomies of indicators sets used around the world. 

Organisations all over the globe are developing new indicators to measure the progress of societies, focusing on sustainabilitywell-being and quality of life etc., which all terms closely related to progress.

Work is being done at the sub-national, national and international level, involving the public and private sectors, civil society, academia, and media, in both developed and developing countries. In this broad view, the Global Project on "Measuring the Progress of Societies" seeks to become the world wide reference point for those who wish to measure and assess the progress of their societies. Organisations can become involved with the Global Project in a variety of ways: Partners, Associates, Sponsors, Technical Advisors and Correspondents.  

See also

Who are the partners 


Several interesting documents  on measures of progress can be found on the Knowledge Base, where the selection of items can be done by country or by topic.


Where are we heading?


There is now a significant opportunity to bring this vast wealth of experience into a more coherent and structured network and so provide a more solid answer to the question that more and more societies (and individuals) are asking: where are we heading? (dove stiamo andando....)  The aim and hope is to start using new measures that go beyond GDP.  We wish to bring forward several of the  Migrationnew initiatives from around the globe, who have compiled new types of indicators which are more inclusive of environmental issues and human and social well-being.


The Beyond GDP Conference is one of the main events which looks for complementary indicators,  clear and appealing as GDP but more inclusive of other dimensions of progress – in particular environmental and social aspects. Read more about  Beyond GDP: towards a shared measure of societal progress   

The Global Project and the Millennium Development Goals

The MDGs are perhaps the most famous set of global “progress” indicators.  The Global Project wants to assist the MDG process. In particular the Project aims to make a key contribution to the international discussion in the run-up to 2015 when the set of existing MDGs and indicators (mainly designed for developing countries) could be enhanced. The Project will foster the integration of the current top down approach to the development of international indicators with a bottom up effort, to take into account cultural, social and economic differences around the world. Therefore, the two processes are not in conflict: on the contrary, engaging societies in a bottom-up process and showing the similarities between the nationally selected themes and MDGs can improve the acceptance of the indicators selected by the UN General Assembly and foster the investments in statistical capacity building.


Various Initiatives related to the work we are doing


Please visit our International Initiatives webpage to find more about measuring progress initiatives and related events.


Australia ABS Declaration

Well-being in Public Policy

GuideStar International





Related Documents