4.1.2 Pre-modelling: Indicator Selection

This chapter focuses on the definition and the issues of the indicator selection process, then describes the content of the process and provides references for scientists.

Icône de l'outil pédagogique Authors

Jean-Paul Bousset,  Marie Taverne,  Etienne Josien, Olivier Thérond

Icône de l'outil pédagogique Definition

In the SEAMLESS-IF impact assessment procedure, indicator selectionis part of the pre-modelling phase with problem definition and scenario description. In the Seam:GUI it is led using the so called “indicator manager” tool.

Selecting indicators consists of making a choice among a set of “some things that provides a clue to a matter of larger significance or makes perceptible a trend or phenomenon that is not immediately detectable.” (Hammond et al., 1995, p. 1). In SEAMLESS-IF, selecting indicators consists of making a choice among available information about the likely impacts of a specific policy option; by referring to information on their specific meaning, calculation and by using the so-called “Goal Oriented Framework (GOF) for indicator selection” (Alkan Olsson et al., 2007), in order to test the policy option against a baseline scenario and other policy scenarios (Pérez et al., 2007).

The GOF is based on three generic themes that are the same among the three dimensions of sustainability (environmental, economic and social). Each of these dimensions consists of indicators that refer to two “domains” of assessment which are considered as systemic units, impacts on agriculture and impacts of agriculture on the rest of the world. The first domain hosts indicators that assess impacts of the agricultural sector on itself. The second domain hosts indicators that assess the impacts of agriculture on society as a whole. Within each dimension each theme is thereafter specified in sub-themes (see Figure 1).


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  Figure 1. General structure of GOF for indicator selection.


Within each sub-theme, there can be lists of indicators. These lists of indicators are closely related to impact issues, which are used in the EU system to categorise indicators. These sub-themes are a way to ensure the representation of important issues or problems being an issue in relation to agri-environmental policy or external shocks to the agricultural system, such as eutrophication, climate change, farm income, employment rate, gender and behavioural changes of farmers.

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