Towards better tools for decision-making – EEA indicators and accounts

News Published 02 Jun 2014 Last modified 31 Aug 2016
1 min read
Photo: © Ken Douglas
Effective environmental policy should be based on robust information on trends. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published two reports today which demonstrate how indicators and environmental accounting support policy and decision making.

The 7th Environmental Action Programme sets out European Union environmental policy objectives for coming years. Implementing this programme will require improved knowledge, including a more detailed understanding of the interplay between economic, social and environmental factors in the transition to an inclusive green economy. Indicators and environmental accounting are important tools in improving this understanding.

Environmental indicators are generally quantitative measures used to illustrate and communicate complex phenomena and trends in a simple way. The 'Digest of EEA indicators 2014' is a reference document, placing EEA indicators in the context of the wider landscape of European environmental indicators and contributions from organisations such as the OECD and Eurostat.

The report highlights the way that indicators can provide insights on progress towards environmental priorities. It gives special attention to emerging policy demands on systemic challenges such as climate change impacts, resource efficiency and ecosystem resilience.  In summary, this report explains "what we have, why we have it and how it can be used".

Combining environmental and economic indicators and accounts has gained prominence in recent years, through a number of national and EU-funded European studies. 'Progress on resource efficiency and decoupling in the EU-27' demonstrates how the global environmental impact of production and consumption in the EU can be explored using environmental accounting methods. Drawing on Eurostat data for 2000-2007, and referring to specific policy goals objectives in the EU environmental legislation, the report demonstrates how "input/output-based analysis" can support policy makers in their decisions and choices.


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