Box 31 Limiting purpose and scale The EEA and DEFRA experiences

The European Environment Agency (EEA, is implementing assessment and reporting systems with the objective of providing timely and responsive information on the state and trends of the environment and related pressures and impacts. The principal purpose of their indicator systems is to inform about the environment, an objective they meet successfully. The link to a formalized sustainable development (SD) system is not given, however, even though the agency is attempting to be consistent with SD systems at the international level. Therefore, the EEA can contribute only indicators pointing in the direction of sustainability from the environmental perspective. By focusing on the European level and the environmental domain, EEA enhances feasibility, reliability, and representativeness.

The UK-Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (UK-DEFRA) ( developed headline indicators of sustainable development for the United Kingdom with the objective of translating issues of public concern into a small number of indicators. These issues have been identified by public consultation with the intention to link them to the concept of SD and quality of life in general. The headline indicators "are intended to raise public awareness of SD, to focus public attention on what SD means, and to give a broad overview of progress." By focusing on a very small number of indicators and linking directly to public opinion, DEFRA enhances communicability.

Feasibility Communicability

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