The Beyond GDP initiative is about developing indicators that are as clear and appealing as GDP, but more inclusive of environmental and social aspects of progress.
This website updates on recent developments and ongoing work.
Social Justice Ireland, an independent think tank, has released the 2019 Sustainable Progress Index, the third annual assessment of Ireland’s progress towards all 17 SDGs in three dimensions: economy, society and environment. Ireland’s performance is compared to the performance of the other EU15 countries, which have experienced similar levels of development. The index is based on 65 indicators which were selected from the UN Indicator Set (2017) for monitoring SDGs progress. Data comes from official international sources such as OECD, WHO, UN, and NGOs such as Gallup and Transparency International. Ireland’s overall ranking among EU15 countries in SDG performance is 11, reaching the top third for SDGs 4 (quality education), 16 (Peace and Justice) and 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation). Significant challenges remain for SDGs 17 (Partnership for the Goals), 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 10 (Reduced Inequality) and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), where Ireland is ranked among the bottom four countries.
The Belgian Federal Planning Bureau has released its annual update of a set of indicators complementary to GDP, together with a report presenting results, the fourth since 2016. The 67 indicators, grouped for the first time by SDG, cover the period from 1990 to 2017. For each indicator, three dimensions are evaluated: ‘here and now’, ‘later’, and ‘elsewhere’. Several indicators were added, and the composite indicator to measure well-being ‘Here and now’ was updated, notably including measures for different population categories: by sex, age and income. This composite indicator synthesizes several main components of well-being in Belgium: health, standard of living, community life, work and education. Data shows that the country reached its highest level in 2008 and then dropped significantly, with a slight increase since 2015. Data also suggest significant inequalities in well-being within the population, notably based on income and age.
The Global Data Lab of the Radboud University (The Netherlands) has released a new version of its Sub-National Human Development Index (SHDI). The SHDI is a translation of the UNDP’s official HDI to the subnational level, which aims at estimating Human Development for country regions. The 2.0 version covers 1625 regions within 161 countries for the period 1990-2017. Data was added for Equatorial Guinea, and updated for Somalia, Kosovo, East Timor, Argentina, Venezuela, Malaysia and EU-countries. Values of the SHDI are computed on the basis of three dimension sub-indices (education, health, standard of living), which were constructed through subnational data on four indicators: expected years of schooling, mean years of schooling, life expectancy and gross national income per capita. Data is freely available as well as a global map. Comparisons with national HDI suggest that the regional distribution of Human Development is particularly unequal in low and middle developed countries.
The Ocean Health Index (OHI) is a joint initiative developed by more than 65 scientists through partnerships between organizations including the National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Sea Around Us, Conservation International, National geographic, and the New England Aquarium. The 7th edition of the index assesses global ocean health in 220 coastal nations and territories, including Antarctica. It measures progress towards 10 goals: food provision, artisanal fishing opportunities, sense of place, clean waters, tourism & recreation, coastal protection, livelihoods & economies, carbon storage, biodiversity, natural products. Each goal is assessed across four dimensions (present status, trend, pressure and resilience) to account for change over time. Results show increased ocean health in 109 countries, compared to 27 in 2017; average score is 70/100, similar to the past two years. Additionally, the OHI Independent Assessment Framework (OHI+) provides a tool for national authorities to carry out independent assessments of the state of their marine areas.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published the Environmental Indicator Report 2018, which serves to support the monitoring of the European Union Seventh Environment Action Programme 2014-2020 (7th EAP). The report, now in its third and last edition, focuses on assessing progress on the three thematic priority objectives of the 7th EAP: protecting natural capital, increasing resource efficiency, and reducing environmental risks that impact health and well-being. The EEA utilises 29 indicators to assess the EU’s performance against these three priority areas; these include indicators on ammonia emissions, land take, conservation status of species and habitats of European interest, greenhouse gas emissions from transports, urban air quality, and exposure to environmental noise. Overall, data shows mixed trends in progress, and suggests in particular that the EU is unlikely to meet Natural Capital Protection objectives by 2020.