Dr. László Pintér recognized for significant, long-term impact on the indicators field
Submitted by Barb on Fri, 09/30/2016 - 15:25
Peg is happy to congratulate Dr. László Pintér, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Central European University (Budapest, Hungary) and Senior Fellow and Associate at the International Institute for Sustainable Development on his recent award for the Hall of Heroes at the Community Indicators Consortium (CIC) conference in Washington, D.C. on September 26-27, 2016. This award recognizes individuals who, through their work have developed tools or methods to translate data into community action, making long-term and significant impact on the field and in community well-being.
Dr. Pintér has been engaged in the Community Indicators field for over 20 years. He has been involved in many national and international collaborations over the years, working to build the field and he played a key role in crafting sustainability assessment and measurement principles by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He was also instrumental in starting the Canadian Sustainability Indicators Network, a nation-wide network that brings together practitioners in private and public fields who work with measuring sustainability in its many forms. He is a valued board member of many high-level board and steering committees such as the Asia-Europe Foundation’s Environment Forum, the Balaton Group and the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe.
Most important, he was also foundational to the development of Peg. Over the years László has dedicated his time, expertise and passion to seeing Peg grow from an idea to an instrument for inspiring action around well-being and community in Winnipeg. We recently took the time to ask László about some of his experiences working with Peg and how it has influenced his work in other areas.
What has working on Peg’s development meant to you?
"Peg was an exceptional opportunity to prove that the potential of indicators to change lives is real, not just a slogan. This is what IISD advocated globally, but when we were called upon to do this at home, it raised the stakes even further. By 2000 we were no longer a novice in the indicator field and through Peg we could also use Winnipeg as a ‘learning laboratory’ to test innovative ideas that we thought made sense. Engaging the community intensively in Peg’s development with great patience and care; investing in innovative use of technology and visualization; matching numbers with stories of everyday Winnipeggers; negotiating partnership agreements; dealing with the intricacies of Peg’s governance; and most of all, perhaps, designing it as a lasting piece of community infrastructure; these all contributed to its success and growing visibility.”
How has Peg impacted your work over the years? Have you incorporated Peg experiences into other projects/concepts or theories on which you have worked?
"For me and for many others in our field who know it, I think Peg became a standard and a point of reference. Whether discussing the transformative power of the way we measure progress at the global level, in some other country or community, I can refer back to Peg and ask “how did we deal with this question?”, or “how could we deal with it in the future?” I haven’t recorded, and probably now can’t count, the number of times I found a way to weave one or more aspects of Peg into my conference talks, graduate students’ thesis projects or ideas put forward by our partners. But there is a clear line of influence between Peg and the Mareas de Tasajera indicator system (of one of my former graduate students in El Salvador): the tool that is used to navigate UNEP Live’s global environmental data, or the way we will build the indicator system in a major new project funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program, Naturvation, to envision how nature based solutions can inform and change the way we build and run our cities."
What can Peg teach other communities both in Canada and abroad?
"I consider Peg an indicator system that is well grounded in the community, with a clear identity and a growing recognition. However, it is also a system that should be and is capable of learning and evolving as new issues, new technologies, and new insights emerge. The indicator system in Peg would be a great foundation for conversations not only about how we got here, but what we want for the future in terms of goals, targets and outcomes. Having these goals and visions about health, education, livelihoods, the urban environment, infrastructure, public finance and so on can jolt people into action, especially if there is a promise that Peg will have the numbers and stories about what actually gets done. So what Peg can teach is not just what it is – but what it can be."
Community indicator systems clearly have the potential to transform numbers into action. From its work with collective impact and the End Homelessness project to its continual efforts to keep the conversation going through videos and media, Peg has been an essential resource in starting dialogues and building community in Winnipeg. László recently spoke about Peg at the TedX Winnipeg event in August 2016, discussing how Peg can move the needle toward the vision we all have for a better Winnipeg.