The Knowledge to Act


Community Indicator Systems

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Community Indicator Systems (CIS) are online platforms that local actors can use to track issues that matter to their community.

CIS platforms enable local actors to track progress on local issues in the global context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This “localization” of the SDGs empowers communities to take local actions, observe the impact of those actions, share experiences with other communities and build new partnerships for implementation.

The SDGs rely on the collection of data for each of the 17 goals to assess how much progress has been made and what remains to be done before the 2030 deadline. Collecting and communicating data at the local level can help communities identify strengths and areas of improvement to achieve the SDGs locally.

IISD has developed the Tracking Progress tool that communities can customize to collect and visualize indicator data on key issues of community wellbeing using maps, graphs and charts.

CIS platforms also enable communities to share experiences and learn from each other. Communities with similar challenges can draw on the lessons to engage in new collaborative efforts. Comparisons with other communities in the same country or internationally can provide outside validation of progress and stimulate a competitive spirit between communities. Donors and development partners can use the data to track the impact of their work and identify new partners.

The first CIS platform using IISD’s open source tool was launched in Winnipeg in June 2018. Four additional CIS platforms are under development in Canadian communities in three provinces and more are planned to launch in Canada and internationally in the near future.

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