Global project to develop statistics on quality of life

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A world statistics forum bringing together major international organisations ranging from the UN and EU to the Islamic Conference has decided to launch a global project to measure societal progress – beyond conventional economic measures – in individual countries.

The Commission has – together with the OECD, the United Nations, the World Bank and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference – decided to develop a new approach to measuring how societies are changing by using “high quality, reliable statistics to assess progress in a range of areas affecting citizens’ quality of life”.

This commitment was outlined in the Istanbul Declaration issued on 30 June 2007 at the close of the second OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy. At this conference, it was agreed that national statistical offices, academics and public and private bodies would work with civil society on new approaches going beyond conventional economic indicators such gross domestic product (GDP). 

A Global Project on ‘Measuring the Progress of Societies’ will be launched to strengthen citizens’ capacity to understand the social and economic context in which they live. “The availability of statistical indicators of economic, social, and environmental outcomes and their dissemination to citizens can contribute to promoting good governance and the improvement of democratic processes. It can strengthen citizens’ capacity to influence the goals of the societies they live in through debate and consensus building, and increase the accountability of public policies,” states the Declaration. 

Key indicators to assess progress would include health, education, environment, employment, productivity and purchasing power. “In the end, what we are trying to do is not just to measure progress and well-being but to achieve it,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.

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