1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Promoting a Holistic and Multidisciplinary Approach to Social Development

Meeting of Experts on Social Development Indicators

Date: 8 - 11 Apr 1991

Policy makers everywhere are faced with making choices based on imperfect information. In much of the developing world, data and indicators for guiding decisions that can mean life or death for many can often be totally unreliable. At the request of the United Nations General Assembly, The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) convened this meeting to review recent work in the field of social development indicators and explore ways of providing better information on which to base social policy decisions. Specialists from multilateral organizations, research institutes, government agencies and NGOs presented their findings on a variety of issues in the field. These included the persistence of data problems that limit the usefulness of numerous key indicators; the need for lower-cost and innovative methods for collecting and managing social data; efforts to improve the applicability of existing indicators; and new initiatives to develop indicators for the analysis of diverse phenomena such as environmental degradation, the level of democracy and gender inequality. Participants also felt keenly the need to improve methods for monitoring poverty and the social impact of structural adjustment programmes.