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Conference of European Statisticians recommendations on measuring sustainable development

Published: December 2013

The last two decades have seen a proliferation of methods and indicators to measure sustainable development. Many countries and organizations have adopted sustainable development indicator sets to track progress towards a sustainable society. However, the differences between the approaches remain large. Therefore, the Conference of European Statisticians set up in 2009 a joint UNECE/Eurostat/OECD Task Force to develop recommendations to harmonise the different ways in which sustainable development is being measured.

The publication presents the Conference of European Statisticians recommendations on measuring sustainable development. It includes a measurement framework and suggests sets of indicators, including a small set that can be used for international comparison. The proposed framework is flexible and allows indicators to be presented in different ways. 

The Recommendations are a step towards harmonising the approaches and indicators already used by countries and international organizations. It takes into account existing approaches and the initiatives undertaken by the United Nations, Eurostat, OECD and individual countries.

The publication is primarily aimed at statisticians but it may also be relevant for policymakers, as policy targets for sustainable development are being formulated at national and international levels.