Published (reviewed and quality assured)
Justification for indicator selection
MAIN ADVANTAGES OF THE INDICATOR
- It is policy relevant, and it is currently tested in all EU Member States.
- It is cost-effective and complementary to other indicators.
- It is easily understandable and widely accepted.
- It is methodologically well-founded.
- No rationale references available
This indicator is based on the Eurobarometer survey on biodiversity, a quantitative questionnaire-based survey, which provides results that can be presented as in the following fictional example: '35 % of the European voting population visit a nature reserve at least once a year'. It can also include qualitative information, often involving focus groups, as in the following fictional example: 'Discussion in the United Kingdom focus groups has shown that people are highly concerned about the impact of climate change on wildlife'.
The units used in this indicator are the percentage of survey respondents.
Policy context and targets
Public opinion is a vital factor in influencing politicians and decision makers. It provides a barometer for public support and interest, and motivates individuals at all levels to lead and take more action. The purpose of this indicator on public opinion is, therefore, to gauge attitudes of the general public in relation to issues such as: biodiversity and the importance of preserving it, the seriousness and impact of biodiversity loss, the biggest threats to biodiversity, what the EU should do to prevent the loss of biodiversity, the role of the Natura 2000 network, personal efforts to protect nature and biodiversity etc.
Relation of the indicator to the focal area
Public opinion is an indication of: 1) attitudes towards biodiversity per se; and 2) attitudes towards actions taken by politicians and public bodies for the protection and management (financial and fiscal, public statements, etc.) of biodiversity.
This indicator provides a general contribution to the EU 2020 headline biodiversity target.
Related policy documents
EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy
in the Communication: Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 (COM(2011) 244) the European Commission has adopted a new strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. There are six main targets, and 20 actions to help Europe reach its goal. The six targets cover: - Full implementation of EU nature legislation to protect biodiversity - Better protection for ecosystems, and more use of green infrastructure - More sustainable agriculture and forestry - Better management of fish stocks - Tighter controls on invasive alien species - A bigger EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss
Key policy question
What is the level of public awareness about biodiversity in Europe? Are people willing to take action?
Methodology for indicator calculation
The Flash Eurobarometer survey is part of a trend survey. Previous surveys were published in 2007 and 2010 (Flash Eurobarometer No 219 and 290), while the 2013 survey (Flash Eurobarometer 379), with 25 537 respondents, presented comparative data between the three surveys. The most recent survey was published in 2015 (Special Eurobarometer 436). For the 2007 and 2013 surveys, respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed via telephone in their mother tongue on behalf of the European Commission's DG Environment. In 2015, interviews were conducted face-to-face, with 27 718 respondents.
Interviewees, aged 15 years and over, were selected from residents of each of the EU member States. The basic sample design applied in all Member States is multi-stage random (probability).
The basic sample design applied in all EU Member States is multi-stage, random (probability). In each country, a number of sampling points was drawn with probability proportional to population size (for a total coverage of the country) and to population density. In order to do so, the sampling points were drawn systematically from each of the 'administrative regional units', after stratification by individual unit and type of area. They thus represent the whole territory of the countries surveyed according to EUROSTAT NUTS II (or equivalent) and according to the distribution of the resident population of the respective nationalities in terms of metropolitan, urban and rural areas. In each of the selected sampling points, a starting address was drawn at random. Further addresses (every Nth address) were selected by standard 'random route' procedures, from the initial address. In each household, the respondent was drawn, at random (following the 'closest birthday rule'). All interviews were conducted face-to-face in people's homes and in the appropriate national language. As far as the data capture is concerned, CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview) was used in those countries where this technique was available.
For each country, a comparison between the sample and the universe was carried out. The universe description was derived from Eurostat population data or from national statistics offices. For all countries surveyed, a national weighting procedure, using marginal and intercellular weighting, was carried out based on this universe description. In all countries, gender, age, region and size of locality were introduced in the iteration procedure. For international weighting (i.e. EU averages), TNS Opinion & Social applies the official population figures as provided by EUROSTAT or national statistics offices (TNS, 2015).
Methodology for gap filling
No methodology for gap filling has been specified.
No methodology references available.
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
Data sources in latest figures
Survey results are estimates, the accuracy of which, everything being equal, rests upon the sample size and upon the observed percentage. With samples of about 1 000 interviews, the real percentages vary within the confidence limits, which are included in the annex to the TNS report (TNS, 2015).
Data sets uncertainty
Flash Eurobarometer surveys from 2007, 2010 and 2013 were carried out by telephone. However, due to the complexity of the topic and the length of the questionnaire, the 2015 Special Eurobarometer survey was conducted face-to-face. This change of surveying mode makes direct comparison with results from previous surveys methodologically unreliable, while the impact of these changes cannot be easily evaluated. Rather than comparing results obtained with different survey methodologies, the 2015 survey sets the baseline for comparison and the establishment of trends for future Special Eurobarometer surveys on Biodiversity.
MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF THE INDICATOR
- It is dependent on the questions asked in the survey. Differing levels of interpretation/response by the public based on socio-economic/cultural factors.
Short term work
Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.
Long term work
Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoKatarzyna Biala
Frequency of updates
Typology: Policy-effectiveness indicator (Type D)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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