Combine headline indicators to facilitate easy communication with more detailed sets of indicators measuring specific economic, environmental, and social outputs and outcomes.
Indicators form the heart of M&E systems. They need to relate directly to green growth objectives and wider social, economic, and environmental goals which are set as part of the government’s vision (see Chapter 2: Establishing vision, baselines, and targets). If designed and chosen well, they provide decision makers with data for effectively monitoring progress towards realizing these goals.
According to the EU-funded Policy Use and Influence of Indicators (POINT) project, there are three primary roles for green growth indicators: (1) instrumental, to manage environmental problems or improve environmental conditions; (2) conceptual, to shape ideas in public debates, and (3) political, to legitimize (or delegitimize) policies or policy actors (Bell et al., 2011). While the instrumental role is the most relevant for M&E to influence decision making, indicators are also needed to fulfill conceptual and political roles in order to strengthen the general support and communication of the green growth agenda.
A number of countries including Denmark, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Korea, Rwanda, and Vietnam have green growth and green economy strategies, with related indicators and monitoring systems. At this point it is too early to judge how effectively such programs and associated monitoring systems have performed, as they are in the early stages of implementation. However, we can see two complementary approaches emerging: (a) the use of a small set of headline indicators (including an overarching composite indicator) capable of combining complex environmental, economic, and social data into metrics that are easy to communicate and useful to policy makers (see Figure 2), and (b) the use of more detailed thematic indicator sets that allow the monitoring of the various underlying sectoral and cross-sectoral changes required to achieve green growth (GGKP, 2013).
Effective M&E systems are likely to require indicators at multiple levels of aggregation, from high-level headline indicators to more detailed thematic indicator sets.