Generic Sustainable Development Scorecard

Currently, the mainstream development value is sustainable development (SD) enshrined in Agenda 21 adopted by 118 governments in the Rio Summit of 1992, and the mainstream quantitative development indicators are the Millennium Development Goals’ targets adopted by the United Nations in the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly in September 2000.

MDGs were first formulated for use at the national level. The next task is to translate the MDG targets into a generic M&E in development applicable also at the local or community level. The figure below shows an initial attempt to combine and reconcile metacapitals and MDG targets. The resulting categories for the generic SD Scorecard which span both metacapitals and MDG targets are provided labels in Column 2.


scorecard Metacapital, MDG Targets and Proposed SD Scorecard Categories

We note some observations and comments:

  • Natural capital must be disaggregated further to match MDG targets. Specifically, the MDG targets can be interpreted as distinguishing between organic and inorganic stocks and processes.
  • Two metacapitals – cultural capital and inorganic capital (related to depletion of stock of non-renewable resources and major source of non-biodegradable pollution) – do not have matching entries in MDG targets.
  • Consensus on usage of terms remains an objective in this evolving discipline. For example, Malhotra uses the term “cognitive social capital” to refer to trust, solidarity and lack of conflict.
  • Certain MDG targets correspond to self-renewal or self-reproduction capacities in each of the three macro-categories of tangible assets, intangible assets and natural capital. Here the label “generative systems” is introduced.
  • MDG targets do not exhaust or completely span each generic SD Scorecard category except the many MDG targets for Category 6 corresponding to human capital. This distribution may be reflective of pressing global priorities as judged by the UN General Assembly during the Millennium Summit.

The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (or ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability), an association of over a thousand local governments from 68 countries, had adopted the “triple bottom line” or “people, planet, profit” concept consistent with SD criteria. A simple, convenient and practice-based SD scorecard for local communities, with a generic and a localized component, is a concrete step towards a universal standard for local development.


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