The European Commission today asked EU leaders to back a proposed new model for developing indicators of environmental progress in Europe, as well as indicators to measure the integration of environmental considerations into sectoral policy making. Heads of government will review the report at the Helsinki summit next month. According to the Commission, good indicators should detect any "general improvement in the state of the environment," they should measure whether "key sector policies take environmental concerns into account," and they should make it possible to assess whether "sustainable development [can] be achieved in sectoral policies and for society as a whole". Indicators should be limited in number, relevant, responsive, simple and policy-related, it adds. The EU executive proposes creating two mechanisms for reporting progress against indicators. One is an annual report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) including up to 70 indicators, the first of which is expected to be released imm inently. The second is a "more focused set of environmental headline indicators," work on which is already underway in a working group of national experts, the EEA and Europe's statistical agency Eurostat. The report notes that more detailed work is simultaneously being done to develop sector-specific reporting models, such as the "transport and environment reporting mechanism" and the "energy indicator pocket book".
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111. References: "Report on Environmental and Integration Indicators to Helsinki Summit," SEC(1999) 1942.
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