This “Solution Spotlight” originally appeared in Generation SDG’s Blueprint. Download the full report.
Peg, a Winnipeg-specific community indicators system, first emerged in 2003 when the local United Way approached the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) about working together to measure the wellbeing and community vitality of the City of Winnipeg.
“The United Way contacted IISD because of their expertise in sustainable development research and their previous work on sustainability indicators,” according to an analysis of the project by two researchers at Royal Roads University.1 “As IISD brought the research expertise and knowledge to Peg, the United Way, a strongly networked organization, brought the necessary community contacts and experience in community engagement to build project partnerships and community collaboration.”
Over 800 people were engaged throughout the project, led by a steering committee comprising public sector, academic, business and NGO representatives. A mixture of diverse funding sources further reinforced the apolitical nature of the project. Although lengthy, this inclusivity ensured that Peg was truly developed by the community for the community.2
In 2013, Peg was publicly launched, tracking over 60 indicators. Since then, a yearly report has been released that both tracks progress and inspires action on pressing social issues across Winnipeg. After the release of Agenda 2030, IISD and the United Way Winnipeg began work on Peg 2.0 in order to connect the indicators with the SDGs.
Relaunched in June 2018, Peg is helping to tie progress in Winnipeg with what is happening in other communities, as well as provide a tool for localizing the SDGs.3 “Winnipeg is one of the first cities in Canada to measure its [holistic] progress on sustainability, and to link our collective efforts to the global agenda,“ said United Way Winnipeg president and CEO Connie Walker in a commentary.4 “With the expertise of the [IISD], Peg will now be a model used by cities across Canada and around the world.”
The 2018 Peg report was also the first platform to use Tracking Progress, IISD’s “easy-to-use, open source web-based tool allowing municipalities, community foundations or other host organizations to easily upload and visualize indicator data from different sources.”5 Three Canadian communities (Bridgewater, NS, Cumberland, NS and Peterborough, ON) are currently using the tool to develop their own indicator platforms and will be launching their sites by the end of 2018.6
Fifteen years into the project, IISD has listed three major recommendations for other jurisdictions looking to develop their own community indicator frameworks:
- We need to engage and consult with community actors in order to leave no one behind and ensure there is ownership by the community;
- Community indicator systems should be part of the community infrastructure, there as a service to help inform decision-making;
- These systems must maintain a reputation as a neutral body that provides the data as a tool to inform decisions and next steps.7
1 Newell, R., and Dale, A. (2013). Community indicators: Winnipeg, Canada (Peg). Retrieved from: https://www.crcresearch.org/community-research-connections/crc-case-studies/community-indicators-winnipeg-canada-
2 International Institute for Sustainable Development. (n.d.) Peg. Retrieved from: https://iisd.org/project/peg
3 Peg. (2018). 2018 Our City. Retrieved from: https://www.mypeg.ca/peg-report-2018/
4 Walker, C. (2018) Opinion: New Peg site tracks progress, inspires action. The Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved from: https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/new-peg-site-tracks-progress-inspires-action-486911851.html
5 International Institute for Sustainable Development. (2018). Community indicator systems training workshop. Retrieved from: https://www.iisd.org/event/community-indicator-systems-training-workshop
6 Tracking Progress. (n.d). About this tool. Retrieved from: https://www.tracking-progress.org/about-this-tool/
7 Temmer, J. (2018). Four ways cities are localizing the SDGs. International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved from: https://www.iisd.org/blog/four-ways-cities-are-localizing-sdgs