Flexible Framework for Indicators for Sustainability in Regions using Systems Dynamics Modelling – INSURE
Flexible Framework for Indicators for Sustainability in Regions using Systems Dynamics Modelling – INSURE This project aims to develop a framework for combining sustainability indicators with a Systems Dynamics modelling approach, for both quantitative and qualitative factors, in order to develop a common EU methodology for sustainability indicators at the regional scale. This framework will be both a theoretical advance, and a practical toolkit for application at the regional, national and EU scale.
The project, coordinated by TAU Consultora Ambiental, involves eight research partners from academia and consultants placed in eight amongst South-Mediterranean, European and Candidate countries.
The main objective of the project is to combine a methodological approach for carrying out a sustainable indicator system with the development of a System Dynamics application that supports in representing sustainability. This is intended to develop a common flexible European framework for sustainable indicators aimed at monitoring progress towards Sustainable Development at regional scale. It pretends to overcome the main obstacles, that the development of sustainability indicators currently faces such as lack of data, sectoral integration and comparability. Thus, three research lines are addressed:
Place the sustainability concept in the middle of the indicator system: The hypothesis is to define sustainability in a well-structured hierarchy in order to make the framework as independent as possible from the indicators and data availability. The approach has a very pragmatic application in comparing sustainability performances across regional contexts.
Integrate the information for indicator calculation by means of System Dynamics: System Dynamics offers a very suitable tool for the development of a formalised heuristic description for sustainability, capable of developing an integrated and autonomous information system for indicator development. There are two features that make System Dynamics suitable for sustainability aspects: the study of trends and the integration of local and universal knowledge.
Using the existing network for regional sustainability indicator development: There are several efforts at European level to create regional/national networks of European interest. The project investigates the feasibility of establishing interactions with the current European initiatives in order to consistently develop a region-based sustainability indicator system. Collaboration with regional or national institutions should bridge the gap between the theoretical approach of the project and concrete experience and practice at regional/national level.
The main project outcomes consist in providing a methodological approach for a flexible framework for sustainable indicators and a related System Dynamics application that helps to represent sustainability. In order to improve the approach and assess its applicability in practice, a series of case studies are developed at regional scale.
The main responsibilities of FEEM consist in ensuring the interconnection and coherence between the developed theoretical framework and common practice related to data collection, processing and application to the policy sphere. This activity is supported by the collaboration with existing institutions and networks. FEEM facilitates the know-how exchange between the project consortium and current institutional networks and organisations interested in region–based sustainability indicators system. FEEM will also be amongst the leading partners in charge of disseminating the project outcomes and of organising seminars and training activities.
The development of a region-based flexible approach to face gaps and heterogeneity in sustainability indicators frameworks and a System Dynamics application implementing it represent the two main project outputs. Reports on case studies that apply the developed approach to different regional contexts as to check its applicability are a complementary project output. Finally, the project Web page is a further project product for dissemination and information exchange devoted to communicate the project progress, its final results and announcements to the experts community.
Current constraints in the development of sustainability indicators systems derive from the lack of data, of sectoral integration and of consensus and comparability.
The project aims to develop a framework for combining sustainability indicators with a Systems Dynamics modelling approach, for both quantitative and qualitative factors, in order to develop a common EU methodology for sustainability indicators at the regional scale. This framework will be both a theoretical advance, and a practical toolkit for application at the regional, national and EU scale.
The potential impact of this project will be firstly measured in terms of its contribution to the improvement of the shared knowledge in combining sustainable indicators (e.g. economical, environmental and social indicators) to be used to ensure comparability at European level. The project will contribute to enhance the current tools for building sustainability indicator systems, providing them with a higher degree of robustness than they currently have.