WHY DID THE ABS DEVELOP MAP?
Public interest in the relationships between economic, social and environmental aspects of life continues to grow in communities, in governments, and internationally. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been regarded as an important measure of economic growth, however growing interest in a more complete picture of progress inspired the assessment of GDP and other economic measures in conjunction with other indicators of progress, such as those that demonstrate social and environmental outcomes. This is the prime reason the ABS originally developed Measures of Australia's Progress (MAP) and has continued to publish data in this format.
Indeed, interest in measuring progress has accelerated in recent years, and the number of commentators asking for social and environmental measures to be considered in addition to traditional economic measures has grown. For example, since 2004, the OECD has hosted three major international dialogues and debates on measuring societal progress. More recently, a report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi 2009) and the European Union's Beyond GDP report (Costanza, Hart, Posner and Talberth 2009) to name just two, have recommended a rethink of measurement systems and encouraged a national and global dialogue on what societies care about, and whether this is adequately reflected in our national and international statistics.
Recent events in Australia have also moved strongly in this direction. In 2009, the Australia 2020 Summit discussed the need for improved indicators of progress and proposed the development of an Australian National Development Index (ANDI). In 2010, the ANDI will be launched.
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