Indicator Specification

Public awareness of biodiversity in Europe

Indicator Specification
  Indicator codes: SEBI 026
Published 19 Dec 2019 Last modified 30 Sep 2021
5 min read
This indicator is based on the Eurobarometer survey on biodiversity, a quantitative questionnaire-based survey, which also captures qualitative information, involving focus groups.

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection


  • It is policy relevant and uses results from 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.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

This indicator is based on the Eurobarometer survey on biodiversity, a quantitative questionnaire-based survey, which also captures qualitative information, involving focus groups.


The units used in this indicator are the percentage of survey respondents.


Policy context and targets

Context description

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 the attitude 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; and
  • personal efforts to protect nature and biodiversity etc.

Relation of the indicator to the focal area

Public opinion is an indication of attitudes towards biodiversity per se and 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 of biodiversity in Europe?

Specific policy question

Are people willing to take action on biodiversity in Europe?



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. 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. Since 2015 (Special Eurobarometer 436), interviews have been conducted face-to-face. The most recent survey was published in 2019 (Special Eurobarometer 481), with 27 643 respondents interviewed between 4 and 20 December 2018.

Interviewees aged 15 years and over, were selected from residents of each EU Member State. 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, the probabilities of which were proportional to population size (for a total coverage of the country) and to population density. In order to do this, 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), Kantar Public applied the official population figures as provided by EUROSTAT or national statistics offices (Kantar Public, 2019).

Methodology for gap filling

No methodology for gap filling has been specified.

Methodology references


Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures



Methodology uncertainty

Survey results are estimates, the accuracy of which depends on the sample size and 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 Kantar Report (Kantar Public, 2019).

Data sets uncertainty

Flash Eurobarometer surveys from 2007, 2010 and 2013 were carried out by telephone. However, because of the complexity of the topic and the length of the questionnaire, the 2015 and 2019 Special Eurobarometer surveys were conducted face-to-face. The findings from the surveys carried out in 2007, 2010 and 2013 are not directly comparable with those from 2015 and 2019 because of the change in surveying method. The 2015 survey sets the baseline for comparison and the establishment of trends with the results of the 2019 Special Eurobarometer survey and future surveys.

Rationale uncertainty


  • It is dependent on the questions asked in the survey and on differing levels of interpretation/response by the public based on socio-economic/cultural factors.

Further work

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.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Katarzyna Biala


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
SEBI 026
Version id: 3

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 3 years


DPSIR: Response
Typology: Policy-effectiveness indicator (Type D)


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