9th Annual Conference, Gent, Belgium, 15-18 November 2001
of the European Environmental Advisory Councils EEAC
Indicators for sustainability
- environmental indicators and sustainable development trends
Hosted by the Environment and Nature Council of Flanders (MiNa-Raad)
Abstracts for workshops and sessions
Conference conclusions by the Rapporteurs and the Chair
- There is a need for environmental indicators, both in their own right and because present (economic) indicators are not covering the environmental costs.
- The present EU proposal covers indicators only in the field of pollution control and resource use, and not in the field of nature protection. This bias needs to be corrected.
- There is a need for environmental indicators for the individual environmental sectors, as well as for indicators about environmental integration, both internal and external.
- Subsidiarity also has a place in environmental indicators, i.e. some should be developed at world level, others at European level, and others at national, regional or local level.
- We notice that research and advice in the Netherlands (VROM-Raad) concludes that the "environmental footprint" approach has more disadvantages than advantages. Nevertheless, environmental indicators ought to take into account environmental impacts elsewhere.
- We notice that there is a problem about the (lack of) data for the development of indicators. Some needed indicators are not constructed because there are no data. But this lack of data can not be a reason for not dealing with a problem nor for constructing non-relevant indicators. Indeed, we think that data ought to be collected as a function of what is necessary for the construction of indicators, contrary to the present practice of constructing indicators as a function of available data).
- There is a need for public participation around environmental indicators, and we think that environmental indicators can be used as a good educational instrument.
- Environmental indicators are not stand-alone. They must be part of a policy life cycle.
- The development of environmental indicators is in its infancy. A great deal of work (research, pilot projects) is still needed.
- There is a lack of environmental indicators that deal with social-psychological dimensions of environmental problems. Attitudes and perceptions are important in determining impacts of policy and possibilities for change.