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How the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region developed a regional monitoring system for the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals with the help of CrowdInsights.

Which evaluation standards, which data are suitable for comparing the Rhine-Neckar region with other regions in terms of sustainability? And how can one’s own strengths and weaknesses with regard to sustainability be made clear? These and other questions were posed to the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region in spring 2021 as part of an evaluation by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

In order not to have to orientate itself solely on predefined criteria when answering these questions, the Rhine-Neckar Regional Association decided to develop and introduce its own indicators in an insight process, which take into account the special features of the region. For almost five weeks, the inhabitants of the metropolitan region had the opportunity to actively participate in the development of regional indicators on the digital CrowdInsights platform rhein-neckar.nachhaltig-im-dialog.de. In a total of three projects, they made creative suggestions for benchmarks and indicators for checking the sustainability of the region, but also of their personal lifestyles. In addition, the respondents named concrete persons, organisations and offices that should be involved in the development towards a sustainable region.

In the end, over 90 people submitted a total of around 100 responses on the platform. As a service provider, CrowdInsights isolated key statements from the occasionally very extensive responses. In a further step, these were grouped into content clusters. The final results were derived from the clusters and published on the platform with links to the statements.

Overall, the participation process in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region delivered three different but equally valuable results: Firstly, a set of indicators with in part very creative and innovative ideas for concrete monitoring of compliance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Rhine-Neckar region. Secondly, a personal checklist with which people from the Rhine-Neckar region can also check their personal lifestyle. And thirdly, a list of people and institutions that can actively contribute to the development of a sustainable metropolitan region.

For the Rhine-Neckar Regional Association, the results of the Digital Insights process were of great benefit in that they can actively contribute to the development of a regional monitoring of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through the Insights process, new data sources and evaluation criteria were found by and for concrete fields of application. On the other hand, the process has also identified concrete – so far rather forgotten – cooperation partners for a change towards a more sustainable region and sensitised the visitors of the digital platform for the topic of sustainability.