Plenary Lecture

Keeping Track of Sustainable Development

Professor Paul Allin
Visiting Professor, Department of Mathematics
Imperial College London

Abstract: We are deploying much innovation and entrepreneurship in search of sustainable development. However, it will only be future generations who realise whether or not our development was sustainable. There is a proliferation of measures and indicators aimed at planning sustainable development and tracking progress. We are less clear about how to use these in practice to build public policy. We also need to hold conversations about how we make commercial, social and personal decisions, informed by these measures and indicators. In this talk we look at the challenges faced in designing and using sustainable development indicators. We look for lessons from the field of poverty reduction and social protection across Europe, where the effort in compiling indicators has not been rewarded with progress towards meeting poverty and social exclusion goals.

Brief Biography of the Speaker: Paul Allin is a visiting professor in the department of mathematics at Imperial College London. His research interests are the measurement of national wellbeing and progress, and the use of these measures in politics, policy, business and everyday life. He also lectures on official statistics and chairs the UK Statistics User Forum and the Advisory Panel of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing. Previously, Paul spent forty years as a professional statistician, researcher and policy analyst in various UK government departments and agencies. He set up and directed the Measuring National Wellbeing programme at the UK Office for National Statistics.

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