Beyond GDP: Toward Holistic Progress Measures

Iyo Daquin Iyan, OMI

The Sixth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, which commenced on Monday, February 26th, 2024, and will continue until March 1st, 2024, has attracted over 5,000 delegates from 193 United Nations member states. Representatives from various governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and private sector entities are among them.

During a side event, a diverse panel of experts discussed concerns previously raised by the Secretary-General regarding GDP’s limitations and advocated reassessment. The panelists echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the urgent need to move beyond GDP, citing its failure to adequately measure societal progress in critical areas such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and social unrest.

These concerns resonate deeply in our current global landscape, where GDP deficiencies have become increasingly apparent amidst complex economic, environmental, and social challenges. Delegates from countries such as Ivory Coast at the UNEA-6 conference have supported re-evaluating GDP metrics.

Transitioning beyond GDP requires a collaborative effort, integrating policies to align decision-making processes with broader sustainability and equity goals. Stakeholder engagement is essential to ensure that diverse perspectives are considered and to foster ownership of alternative progress measures. Capacity building among policymakers, researchers, and practitioners is crucial for interpreting and effectively utilizing these alternative metrics.

Moreover, effective communication and advocacy efforts are pivotal in garnering support and fostering an understanding of the rationale and benefits of transitioning beyond GDP.

In conclusion, embracing holistic progress measures is imperative for addressing global challenges and building a more inclusive and sustainable future.

Iyo Daquin Iyan, OMI/VIVAT Contact Person to UNEP