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OECD Forum Discusses Measuring Well-Being and Development

OECD19 October 2012: A meeting organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Government of India discussed the status, challenges and outlook for the development and use of new measurements of well-being and the progress of societies. Meeting participants also examined the use of such measurements to inform policy, particularly with a view to contributing to the post-2015 development agenda.

The Fourth OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy met from 16-19 October 2012, in New Delhi, India, bringing together approximately 800 participants from around the world, including policy makers and representatives of international organizations, national statistical offices, academia and civil society.

Convened under the theme “Measuring Well-Being for Development and Policy Making,” the four-day Forum consisted of roundtables and themed sessions on: material conditions; quality of life; gender, minorities and life course perspectives; and sustainability. In its concluding statement, the Forum recognized the need to measure "what matters the most to people" and to use the information in policy decisions, to develop appropriate implementation mechanisms and to better monitor outcomes. Creating such metrics, says the Forum, requires engagement from civil society, business, statisticians, academia and politicians.

The Forum welcomed the launch in 2011 of the OECD's Better Life Index (BLI), a conceptual framework that looks at 11 dimensions of material conditions and quality of life, namely income and wealth; jobs and earnings; housing; health; work-life balance; education and skills; social connections; civic engagement and governance; environmental quality; personal security and subjective well-being. It also welcomed the Rio+20 outcome document's call to develop measures complementing GDP. The Forum noted several barriers toward developing and using better measurements of well-being, including data gaps, limited budgets in national statistical office, and limited experience in using such metrics in design and implementation of policy.

The Forum declared the OECD will work with other international organizations, UN agencies, regional development banks and national statistical agencies to further develop the measurement agenda for development and policy making, in the process contribute to informing UN-led discussions on the post-2015 development agenda. The Fifth OECD World Forum, which will examine progress in this regard, will be held in 2015. [OECD Press Release] [Forum Concluding Statement] [Forum Presentations]