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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

07 16

A Green Compass: Institutional Options for Developing a National System of Environmental Indicators

Top officials of five federal environmental and natural resource agencies asked the National Academy to assist an interagency team in examining institutional changes needed to facilitate selection and regular production of a national set of environmental indicators that are reliable, relevant and trusted. The Academy Panel provided guidance and advice to the federal team charged with designing and evaluating relevant institutional options.

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Key Findings

This report offers federal policymakers practical recommendations to advance collaboration at the federal level and to systematically engage the states and other key players to broaden support and build momentum for the creation of a national system of environmental indicators.


In order to help meet environmental challenges in the decades ahead, the nation needs a system to identify, produce, and track environmental indicators that are reliable, relevant, and trusted. Leaders of the five federal agencies responsible for environmental protection and natural resources asked the National Academy of Public Administration (National Academy) to help design the organizational and institutional arrangements for such a system. The Academy Panel appointed to provide this assistance worked closely with a federal interagency team to identify and evaluate institutional options. The Panel believes this Administration has an important opportunity to advance development of a national system of environmental indicators through the remainder of its term. To capitalize on this opportunity, the Panel recommends following the mantra, “Think big, start small and ramp up fast.”

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