Conference of European Statisticians recommendations on measuring sustainable development
Published: beginning of 2014
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.
Joint UNECE/Eurostat/OECD Task Force on Measuring Sustainable Development (2009-2013)
The Joint UNECE/Eurostat/OECD Task Force on Measuring Sustainable Development was established to continue the work of the previous Working Group on Statistics for Sustainable Development. The Task Force further pursued the conceptual development of the capital approach in identifying indicators to present the long-term dimension of sustainable development. In addition, indicators to present the distributional aspects under each capital indicator were considered in order to respond to the needs of the policy makers.
The Task Force prepared the "CES Recommendations for measuring sustainable development" which were endorsed by the CES plenary session in June 2013 (above). The Task Force also analyzed the availability of the proposed indicators for 46 countries in the statistical databases of UN, OECD and Eurostat.
Joint UNECE/Eurostat/OECD Working Group on Statistics on Sustainable Development (2005-2008)
Sustainable development is a popular and important concept, but one that is open to a variety of interpretations. The Joint UNECE/Eurostat/OECD Working Group on Statistics on Sustainable Development made a breakthrough in this area by reaching a common understanding on the principles of how to measure sustainability. It also started to develop a small core set of indicators that would be comparable between countries. The outcome of this work is presented in the publication on Measurement Sustainable Development issued in 2009.
Publication on Measuring Sustainable Development
This publication presents the work of the joint UNECE/OECD/Eurostat Working Group on Statistics for Sustainable Development. It identifies good concepts and practices to assist national govenments and international organizations in the design of sustainable development indicator sets. It also provides recommendations for further work.
- Overview of existing approaches
- The capital approach to sustainable development: theory
- Implementing the capital approach in practical terms
- Exploring a small set of sustainable development indicators
To order print copies, email the publication title with your postal address to email@example.com.
Meetings and events
To access Statistics on sustainable development related events, please click Meeting and Events