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Measuring progress, true wealth, and well-being

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European Commission Staff Working Document on "Progress on 'GDP and beyond' actions"

In August 2013, the EC published the Staff Working Document [SWD(2013) 303] on "Progress on 'GDP and beyond' actions".
The GDP and beyond roadmap adopted in 2009 aims to complement GDP with high level indicators reflecting issues such as environmental protection , quality of life and social cohesion. The roadmap also puts emphasis on the timeliness and robustness of these indicators which are necessary to inform policy making.

The report produced by the Commission reviews the actions undertaken since the approval of the roadmap. Progress has been made over the last 3 to 5 years in the development of environmental summary indicators. Two summary indices on environmental pressures at EU level and on the global environmental impacts of EU consumption are being developed and tested.

On the quality of life and social side headline indicators and indices as well as a solid basis to provide objective information on quality of life and wellbeing are now available. In particular progress towards poverty eradication is now followed using an aggregate indicator measuring" people at risk of poverty or social exclusion" while the European statistical system has developed its wide ranging EU statistics on income and living conditions

Progress has also been made by Eurostat and EEA on timeliness, with "early estimates" of key environmental indicators sufficiently accurate to inform policy decisions. The system of national accounts is being extended to environmental and social issues to provide a sound basis for indicator production. A first regulation adopted in 2011 contains three modules: air emissions, environmentally related taxes and material flow account, while a second regulation due for adoption at the end of 2013 would include physical energy flow, environmental goods and services and environmental protection expenditures.

The Commission services acknowledge that speeding up the production of social and environmental data is important to allow for more balanced policy-making. The Commission Staff recognizes that such an integrated analysis can support public debate and political decision making only if economic, social and environmental figures are available in time.

View the Staff working document and its Annexes.

View the Staff working document and its Annexes.