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Published: 2004-11-05 00:00:00

An Environment Waikato Manager is joining a New Zealand delegation to an OECD world environmental forum in Italy next week.

Dr Beat Huser is a local government representative on the delegation of mainly Central Government officials at the forum on Key Indicators in Palermo, Italy.

About 400 delegates from around the world, including almost all OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries and 12 international organisations, will have the opportunity to discuss with world experts how data can best be linked to policy and decision-making.

Over the last decade, all countries and many regions and districts have developed sets of indicators to measure progress towards set policy targets and assess the effectiveness of their policies. The OECD uses indicators to assess the performance of its member countries.

Dr Huser said this was especially important for New Zealand, particularly for the Waikato, as its clean and green image was vital for exports and economic prosperity.

“Measuring progress towards economic, social and environmental goals is difficult by itself, but today’s challenge is to combine all these aspects, make trade-offs and track progress towards sustainability.

“Indicators are information as well as a communication tool. It is important that we measure the right thing, but also that these indicators are easy understandable by the community. Ideally we need indicators that are locally relevant, can be aggregated regionally and nationally and can also be compared internationally”.

Dr Huser is currently leading a team of senior staff from Environment Waikato, Hamilton City Council, district councils and district health boards to identify a core set of Regional indicators to measure progress towards identified outcomes in the councils’ long-term plans, and co-ordinate the required monitoring.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to be invited to such an event, and then come back and apply what has been learned for the benefit of the Waikato community.”

The cost of the trip is paid by the OECD, Ministry for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand.