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Sustainability 2013, 5(7), 3035-3059; doi:10.3390/su5073035
Article

Bringing the “Missing Pillar” into Sustainable Development Goals: Towards Intersubjective Values-Based Indicators

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Received: 20 May 2013; in revised form: 20 June 2013 / Accepted: 25 June 2013 / Published: 12 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)
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Abstract: This paper argues that the need for a core “fourth pillar” of sustainability/sustainable development, as demanded in multiple arenas, can no longer be ignored on the grounds of intangibility. Different approaches to this vital but missing pillar (cultural-aesthetic, religious-spiritual, and political-institutional) find common ground in the area of ethical values. While values and aspects based on them are widely assumed to be intangible and immeasurable, we illustrate that it is possible to operationalize them in terms of measurable indicators when they are intersubjectively conceptualized within clearly defined practical contexts. The processes require contextual localization of items, which can nonetheless fit into a generalizable framework. This allows useful measurements to be made, and removes barriers to studying, tracking, comparing, evaluating and correlating values-related dimensions of sustainability. It is advocated that those involved in operationalizing sustainability (especially in the context of creating post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals), should explore the potential for developing indicators to capture some of its less tangible aspects, especially those concerned with ethical values.
Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals; Post 2015 Development Agenda; Millennium Development Goals; sustainability; governance; values; ethical framework; indicators; intersubjectivity Sustainable Development Goals; Post 2015 Development Agenda; Millennium Development Goals; sustainability; governance; values; ethical framework; indicators; intersubjectivity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Burford, G.; Hoover, E.; Velasco, I.; Janoušková, S.; Jimenez, A.; Piggot, G.; Podger, D.; Harder, M.K. Bringing the “Missing Pillar” into Sustainable Development Goals: Towards Intersubjective Values-Based Indicators. Sustainability 2013, 5, 3035-3059.

AMA Style

Burford G, Hoover E, Velasco I, Janoušková S, Jimenez A, Piggot G, Podger D, Harder MK. Bringing the “Missing Pillar” into Sustainable Development Goals: Towards Intersubjective Values-Based Indicators. Sustainability. 2013; 5(7):3035-3059.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Burford, Gemma; Hoover, Elona; Velasco, Ismael; Janoušková, Svatava; Jimenez, Alicia; Piggot, Georgia; Podger, Dimity; Harder, Marie K. 2013. "Bringing the “Missing Pillar” into Sustainable Development Goals: Towards Intersubjective Values-Based Indicators." Sustainability 5, no. 7: 3035-3059.


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