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Background and objectives

The purpose of this Statistical Compendium is to provide a reference book for readers of the report Europe's Environment: The Dobris Assessment who need the statistics used for the main report, together with some additional statistics relevant to the themes of the report. The Compendium also provides more detailed methodological information and notes than could be presented in the main report.

Europe's Environment: The Dobris Assessment is the pan-European report on the state of the environment (the "Dobris report") requested by the environment ministers for the whole of Europe at the ministerial conference held in Dobris Castle, near Prague, in June 1991. This report forms the basis for the development of the long-term Environmental Programme for Europe, which, together with the shorter-term Environmental Action Programme for Central and Eastern Europe, was initiated at the Dobris Castle meeting. It was intended that the Dobris report would facilitate the identification of priorities for the repair of existing environmental damage and the prevention of future problems, provide a basis for the effective implementation of environmental policies and act as a tool to inform the public and raise awareness about environmental problems. The report describes and analyses the state of and trends in the environment. It also describes the interplay between the environment and a wide range of pressures, together with their relationship to human activities. This involves a series of integrated assessments of "prominent environmental problems" (PEPS) which, through the analysis of data and other information in the course of preparation of the report, have emerged as being of most general concern.

The Statistical Compendium has been prepared jointly by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation I and Development (OECD), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and, for the European Commission, Eurostat and the European Environment Agency Task Force (EEATF). This statistical collaboration between organisations with widely differing objectives and mandates represents an important step towards the establishment of a single set of agreed statistics as a basis for the development of policy. However, responsibility for the statistics presented here rests with the organisations listed as the sources for each table. Sharing of data in this way should also promote the more efficient use of the scarce resources for collecting and validating statistics.

Structure of the Statistical Compendium

Readers of this Statistical Compendium should be aware that it is intended to be read in conjunction with the main Dobris report. The structure of the Compendium follows the structure of the main report from Chapter 4 to Chapter 26, with identical chapter numbering. However, within chapters the Compendium tables do not correspond exactly to the section headings used in the main report. In many cases, the Compendium provides an expanded version of the statistics used in the main report. For some sections, the Compendium provides selected data only, together with references to publications and databases containing the complete Dobris report data.

The text in the Compendium is intended only to explain the sources and methods underlying the statistics, and to comment on the quality of the data; all other comment, interpretation and analysis will be found in the main report. Certain chapters of the main report have no counterpart in the Compendium, most notably, Chapters 27 to 38, which discuss the Prominent Environmental Problems (PEPs), since the relevant statistical tables are included in earlier chapters of the Compendium. For example, tables on greenhouse gas emissions relevant to Chapter 27 "Climate change" in the main report are found in Chapter 14 "Emissions" in the Compendium. References to related chapters of the Compendium and the Dobris report are included in the text boxes headed "See also".

Most chapters contain a number of groups of tables with common themes. Each group of tables is preceded, where applicable, by a short text that provides a general explanation of the sources, methods and reliability of the data, presented. More detailed table notes are included at the end of each group of tables. Source references are listed at the end of each chapter, and Annex 2 gives further information on some major data sources.

Explanatory information in the Statistical Compendium

This Compendium provides a wide range of statistics, including both social and economic data, as well as more strictly environmental data. It is now generally accepted that environment statistics are "soft" data; that is, their meaning depends not only on the numbers presented, but on additional information describing sources, methods, and the causes and likely magnitude of errors. It is unwise to make any use of environment statistics without this additional information. Many environment statistics are based on field measurements together with estimations or modelling; in all cases, the resulting statistics tend to be less precise than statistics based on conventional censuses, surveys or administrative data, and the errors are more difficult to quantify. This Compendium sets out to provide enough explanatory information to enable the reader to understand the data and how far it is reasonable to use them given the limits of data reliability for a particular domain.

Choice of data sources

In principle, data sources have been selected according to three main criteria:

  • wherever possible, existing international data sources were chosen;
  • the data should cover all the countries participating in the Dobris report;
  • for the 12 Member States of the European Union (up to 1994), preference should be given to Eurostat data.

In practice some other factors have influenced the choice of data sources. First, differences of methodology between Eurostat and other data sources meant that in certain cases, Eurostat data were not used at all, and a uniform data set from another international source was preferred, in order to construct a table covering all participating countries. Second, very few statistics were available for some smaller countries; these countries have therefore been systematically excluded from most of the tables, although they are included in the table of "Selected statistics" in this chapter (or in the notes to this table). Third, in some cases international sources were supplemented by data collected from countries, either via national publications such as statistical yearbooks or state of the environment reports, or via direct requests to National Focal Points for the Dobris report or to national statistical offices. In addition, a few tables are based on data collection exercises conducted specifically for the Dobris report. Finally, there are cases in which the data presented in the Statistical Compendium were originally selected by authors of the corresponding section of the main report; in these cases, the choice of data depended on the approach adopted by the author concerned.

Certain sections of the main report rely on analysis of information presented in the form of maps. it should be particularly noted that some of these maps represent the output of complex estimation or modelling procedures, based on input data from a variety of official and unofficial sources. The resulting information may differ in detail from that presented in statistical tables at national level compiled from the official sources that form the basis of most tables in the Compendium, although the interpretation or assessment remains the same. Comments on the relationship between the Compendium tables and the maps in the main report have been included in the text where appropriate.


Source references

Because the Compendium combines statistics from so many different sources, with, typically, several sources being used in each table, it was decided to provide detailed information on the source of each figure used. The source references should make it possible to identify not just the organisation providing the data but also the publication or database in which the data were found. Some sources that are used frequently in the Compendium are listed in Annex 2. Other source references are given in the sections where they are used. In addition, Annex 3 provides addresses of statistical data sources, including the national statistical offices, which act as contact points for international data supply.

A glossary of general abbreviations and acronyms is provided in Annex 5.


A full list of the countries covered by the Statistical Compendium is provided in the table of "Selected statistics" in this chapter. Some small countries, for which few data were available, are listed only in the notes to this table. Additional explanations necessary for certain countries, which apply to the whole Statistical Compendium, are also provided in these notes.

Further information on geographical coverage is provided in Chapter 3 of the Dobris report, "Europe: the continent". Several different country groupings are used in the Dobris report; these are explained in the corresponding chapters of the report.

Updating of tables

Except where otherwise stated, tables were completed before 31.12.94. In a few tables, the data published in the Statistical Compendium were updated more recently than the corresponding data used in the preparation of the Dobris report.

Requests for information

Requests for information relating to the contents of the Statistical Compendium should be sent to Eurostat at the address given in Annex 3.

European Environment Agency

Established on 30 October 1993, following the decision to locate its headquarters in Copenhagen, the European Environment Agency has inherited the Dobris report project from the EEATF, together with the information, databases and network established during the project. The Agency was an active partner in the completion of the Statistical Compendium. I


A very large number of people and organisations have worked directly or indirectly for this Statistical Compendium. Beyond the organisations which are formally responsible for the Compendium, and the European Environment Agency, the help of the National Focal Points and the national statistical services of the countries participating in the Dobris report project should be specially acknowledged, as should the major contributions of the statistical services of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the United Nations Population Division and the World Tourism Organisation.

The Statistical Compendium was co-financed by the European Union's PHARE programme, which provides grant finance to support its partner countries in central and eastern Europe to the stage where they are ready to assume the obligations of membership.

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