Key findings from a SDG viewpoint (2016) Key findings from a SDG viewpoint (2016)


Eurostat supports the Sustainable Development Goals 
         UN guidelines


Eurostat’s publication 'Sustainable Development in the European Union — A statistical glance from the viewpoint of the UN Sustainable Development Goals' provides an overview of the current situation of the EU and its Member States on sustainable development in relation to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is meant as an ad hoc publication, bridging Eurostat’s series of monitoring reports of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy with future regular monitoring of the SDGs in an EU context, foreseen to start in 2017. It is released simultaneously with the Commission Communication ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future: European action for sustainability’. The publication is structured along the 17 SDGs. It includes 51 indicators, presented to reflect the broad objectives and ambitions of the SDGs and interpreted in an EU context. This page presents the key findings for each goal.

1. No Poverty

Almost every fourth person in the EU — 23.7 % of the population — is at risk of poverty or social exclusion (2015 data). This is a slight improvement on the 2005 situation, when 25.8 % of the population were at risk. Of those at risk, almost one third or 38.4 million people are affected by more than one dimension of poverty. The most widespread form is relative monetary poverty, which affects 10.2 % of the population. Still, the rate of relative monetary poverty in the EU is lower than for other G20 Member States such as the United States, Turkey and Mexico.  Back To Top

2. Zero Hunger

Organic farming makes up 6.2 % of the EU’s agricultural land (2015 data). The share has grown from 3.6 % over the past decade, with a slower rate of conversion in recent years. On agricultural land, the EU has an average nitrogen surplus of 51 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha), which can lead to environmental pollution (2014 data). However, some countries such as Estonia, Bulgaria, Latvia and Austria have phosphorus deficits that could threaten soil fertility. The most intensive livestock production in the EU occurs in the Netherlands, Malta and Belgium at 3.35 livestock units per hectare (LSU/ha), while most Member States have a livestock density below 1.50 LSU/ha (2013 data). Back To Top

3. Good health and well-being

Girls born in the EU in 2014 can expect to live 83.6 years, which is 5.5 years longer than boys. Despite the observed gender gap, this is a steady increase for both sexes since 2004. Among the advanced economies globally, Japan has the highest overall life expectancy for boys and girls. 21.6 % of the EU population believe their health is very good and more than two thirds say it is good or very good (2014 data). These levels are similar to those reported in 2007.  The share of the EU population reporting limited access to health care due to financial constraints has increased by 0.3 percentage points since 2008, reaching 2.4 % in 2014. Back To Top

4. Quality education

The EU’s share of early leavers from education and training stands at 11.0 % (2015 data). This is an improvement of 4.3 percentage points since 2006. About one sixth to almost one quarter of 15-year-old EU children show insufficient abilities in reading, mathematics and science as measured by the OECD’s PISA study (2012 data). The lowest share of low achievers is in science, which has shown the strongest progress since 2000, followed by reading and then maths, which has been improving the slowest. The EU’s overall share of low achievers in reading, maths and science is similar to that of the United States, but exceeds the shares of lowachieving pupils in Japan and Korea. People who have completed tertiary education make up 38.7 % of the EU population aged 30 to 34 (2015 data). This means a significant increase since 2002 when only 23.6 % of the population had achieved this level. More people have also been taking part in adult education. In the EU, 11.7 % of women and 9.7 % of men aged 25 to 64 participate in lifelong learning (2015 data). This is a 4.0 and 3.1 percentage point improvement since 2002 for women and men respectively. Back To Top

5. Gender equality

The EU’s gender pay gap stands at 16.1 % (2014 data). This is an improvement compared to 2006 when the gap was 1.6 percentage points higher. Women hold 29 % of seats in national parliaments across the EU on average (2016 data). This shows positive, albeit slow, progress since 2003 when the share was 20 %. The situation varies significantly between Member States.  Back To Top

6. Clean water and sanitation

The biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is an indicator of organic pollution in rivers and the effectiveness of water treatment. According to data from 18 Member States, BOD fell by 20.4 % between 2002 and 2012, indicating a steady improvement in water quality. Although most Member States do not have a problem with access to sanitation and hygiene, in the few countries that are affected by this issue, about 12 million people or 2.4 % of the EU population still lack access to basic sanitation facilities within their households (2015 data). The situation has improved since 2005 when 3.7 % of the EU population lacked basic sanitation facilities.  Back To Top

7. Affordable and clean energy

Renewable energy makes up 16.0 % of gross final energy consumption in the EU (2014 data). The share has almost doubled since 2004 when it was only 8.5 %.  The EU’s energy productivity has improved by 26.2 % since 2000, reaching EUR 8.2 per kg of oil equivalent in 2014. Although the share of persons unable to keep their house adequately warm in the EU decreased by 1.5 percentage points between 2007 and 2015, 9.4 % of the EU population is still unable to keep their home warm.  Back To Top

8. Decent work and economic growth

Real GDP per capita in the EU grew by 1.0 % per year on average between 2000 and 2015. This is comparable to growth rates in other advanced economies, such as the United States, Canada and Japan, but considerably lower than the rate observed in Russia. 70.1 % of people aged 20 to 64 are employed in the EU (2015 data). This is a substantial increase compared to 2001 when the employment rate was 66.9 %, but is still slightly lower than the pre-crisis level of 2008. Long-term unemployment has also deteriorated, reaching 4.5 % in 2015 — 1.5 percentage points above the 2007 level. 15.8 % of young people aged 18 to 24 in the EU are neither in employment nor receiving further education and training (2015 data). This is one percentage point lower than in 2002. The share increased between 2008 and 2012 as a result of the economic crisis.  Back To Top

9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure

The EU spends 2.04 % of its GDP on R&D (2014 data). This represents a moderate improvement since 2002, when the EU’s R&D intensity was 1.80 %. At the global level, other advanced economies such as South Korea, Japan and the United States still outperform the EU in terms of this indicator. The performance of EU Member States measured by the eco-innovation index ranges from around 50 in Bulgaria to 167 in Denmark (2015 data). Northern European countries as well as Ireland, Germany and Luxembourg can be considered as eco-innovation leaders, whereas central and eastern European countries as well as Greece, Cyprus and Malta lag behind. Employment in high- and medium-high technology manufacturing accounts for 5.7 % of total employment in the EU (2015 data) and shows a marginal decrease from 2008 (5.9 %). 95 % of EU enterprises have a fixed or mobile broadband access to the internet (2015 data). This is a considerable increase since 2007, when only 77 % of EU enterprises had access.  Back To Top

10. Reduced inequalities

GDP per capita in the EU is EUR 26 500 (2015 data), which represents an increase of EUR 3 600 compared to 2000. Regional GDP per capita dispersion (the ratio between the richest and poorest regions) ranges from a 7.8 in the United Kingdom to only 1.6 in Finland (2014 data). The household gross disposable income per capita in the EU stands at 21 629 purchasing power standards (PPS) (2015 data). Nineteen Member States have decreased the distance to the EU average since 2004, but the EU still lags behind other advanced economies in the world such as the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan. High-income earners in the EU earn about five times more than low-income earners (2015 data). This distribution has barely changed since 2010. However, compared with other G20 countries, the EU still has the lowest income quintile share ratio.  Back To Top

11. Sustainable cities and communities

Between 2000 and 2014, the concentration of particulate matter (PM10) to which urban population in the EU is potentially exposed has decreased by 21.6 % and stands now at 22.5 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/ m3), which is well below the annual limit value of 40 (µg/m3). The EU recycles (including composting) 43.5 % of its municipal waste (2014 data). This represents an important shift towards sustainable waste management compared to 2000, when only 25.2 % of municipal waste was disposed of in this way. However, about three quarters of Member States still recycle less than the EU average. One in five or 20.4 % of people in the EU report ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of difficulty in accessing public transport (2012 data). Location appears to have a big impact as less than 10 % of people living in cities experience ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of difficulty in accessing public transport.  Back To Top

12. Responsible consumption and production

EUR 2.0 of gross domestic product (GDP) are generated for every kilogram of material consumed in the EU (2015 data). This is a 33 % improvement in the EU’s resource productivity since 2000. The EU’s domestic material consumption has also improved, decreasing in 2015 to 13.2 tonnes per capita. This is a reduction of 2.3 tonnes since 2000. On average the EU generates 1 806 kilograms (kg) of waste (excluding major mineral waste) per capita (2014 data), which is a favourable decline compared to 1907 kg per capita in 2004.  Back To Top

13. Climate action

The EU reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 23 % between 1990 and 2014. Compared with other industrialised countries, the EU is leading in GHG emission reductions after the Russian Federation. The global average near-surface temperature has increased significantly since the start of the 20th century and regularly hits new records. When compared to pre-industrial times, the average temperature over the period 2006 to 2015 has risen by 0.84°C. This means that almost half of the warming towards the 2°C threshold has already taken place. In Europe, the current decade is the hottest on record, at 1.5°C above pre-industrial times.  Back To Top

14. Life below water

Although there are increasing efforts to meet global targets for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), the current sufficiency of sites designated under the Habitats Directive for marine habitats and species conservation in the EU is at 55 %, in contrast to a sufficiency index of 92 % for the terrestrial equivalents (2013 data). The EU fish catch amounted to 5 112 555 tonnes in 2015, which is 22 % less than in 2000. Data on sustainability of fishing in the major fishing areas do not provide a clear trend so far.  Back To Top

15. Life on land

Compared to the maritime sites, the sufficiency of sites designated under the Habitats Directive for terrestrial habitats and species conservation in the EU is quite high at 92 % (2013 data). The abundance and diversity of common birds in the EU has declined by 12.6 % between 1990 and 2014. The group of common farmland birds shows the biggest decline with their population falling by 31.5 %, indicating that agricultural ecosystems are under particular pressure.  Built-up and artificial areas cover 4.1 % of the EU land area (2012 data). Large differences between Member States are generally the result of varying population densities and shares of rural areas.  Back To Top

16. Peace, justice and strong institutions

4 698 intentional homicide offences were recorded in the EU in 2014. The number of offences has been steadily decreasing by more than 100 offences a year since 2008. Police forces are the most trusted institution in the EU, with a citizens’ confidence level of 5.9 out of 10 points. They are followed by the legal system, with a confidence rating of 4.6 out of 10 points, and the political system, with a score of 3.5 out of 10 points (2013 data).  Back To Top

17. Partnerships for the goals

The EU and it’s Member States spend 0.47 % of their collective gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA) in 2015, which is a slight improvement compared to 2005. Nevertheless, the EU falls short of its target of allocating 0.7 % of its GNI to ODA. Most EU countries, which have all adopted individual ODA targets (0.7% of GNI for those that joined before 2004, and 0.33% for those that joined later), have not yet fully met their commitments. The EU collectively provides more ODA than the other members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) combined. With imports from developing countries valued at EUR 834.9 billion in 2014, the EU is the world’s most open market for developing countries. Fuels excluded, developing countries’ exports to the EU surpass their exports to the USA, Canada, Japan and China combined. Considerable progress in this direction has been achieved since 2002, when EU imports from developing countries were valued at EUR 358.8 billion. The EU is also the largest importer of goods from least developed countries, the overall share of imports from these countries being 2.3 % in total EU imports.  Back To Top