Eurostat Reports on Monitoring SDG Trends in EU Context
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Eurostat, the EU's statistical agency, released its second monitoring report on progress against its 100 SDG-related indicators.

The EU is making long-term significant progress towards 49 indicators, and long-term moderate progress towards 28 indicators.

However, on 27 indicators long-term progress remains insufficient or is moving away from targets.

September 2018: Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency, has updated its reporting on the EU SDG indicator set, providing a quantitative measure of progress and identifying the areas on-track for reaching the SDGs, as well as areas that are off-track. The report titled, ‘Sustainable development in the European Union: monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context,’ finds that the EU is making long-term, significant progress towards 49 indicators, and long-term moderate progress towards 28 indicators.

The publication reports on the indicator set that was developed by the European Commission to monitor the SDGs in a EU context, and aims to capture the intent of the SDGs and their targets. The EU indicators were selected for having data that are available and regularly produced and exist on a country-by-country basis. The EU SDG set includes over 100 indicators.

In the report, the EU indicators are organized by their associated SDG, and reported on as either having made significant progress, moderate progress, insufficient progress, or movement away from the EU-defined targets. Progress towards the targets is specified to be either long-term (past 15 years) or short term (previous five years). In addition to presenting trends at the EU level, the data for each indicator are disaggregated to the country level.

The EU is making long-term significant progress towards 49 indicators, and long-term moderate progress towards 28 indicators. Among the 49 indicators on which the EU is making significant progress is the increased share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption, which relates to SDG 7. Since 2004, when renewable energy was only 8.5% of total energy consumption, the EU has increased its share of renewable energy consumption to 17% (2018) and is only three percentage points away from reaching its target of 20% by 2020. Among the countries that have increased their renewable energy share the most during this period, Denmark and Austria increased their renewable energy share by 17 and 11 percentage points, respectively.

Poland, Slovenia and Lithuania have shown the most significant increases in municipal recycling rates between 2011 and 2016.

An indicator on which the EU has made both significant long-term and short-term success is municipal recycling rates, which connects to SDG 11. In 2016, the EU recycled 45.3% of municipal waste, up 18.8 percentage points since 2001 (26.5%). Poland, Slovenia and Lithuania are among the countries who have had the most significant increase in municipal recycling rates, as they have increased the proportion of municipal waste being recycled by 27.1, 35.8 and 40.5 percentage points between 2011 and 2016, respectively.

The Eurostat report finds that progress has been made across indicators related to all SDGs. However, on some indicators, progress is insufficient or is actually moving away from the EU-defined target. The EU is experiencing insufficient long-term progress towards 17 indicators, and is moving away from achieving ten indicators. SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) and many of its indicators are among those showing negative trends. The EU is making insufficient progress on all four of the indicators used to measure inequalities within countries. Among the most significant of these indicators is the relative median at-risk-of-poverty gap, which measures the distance between the median income of people living below the poverty threshold and the threshold itself. Since 2011, the relative median at-risk-of-poverty gap has increased by 2 percentage points (2016) in the EU.

All data for the EU SDG indicator set are available on an interactive online platform. Data can be filtered by SDG or EU defined indicator, and can be disaggregated to the country level.

The EU indicator set was agreed in May 2017, and the first monitoring report on the indicators was issued in November 2017. According to that report, the indicator set would undergo regular reviews to reflect future policy developments and newly available indicators. [Publication: Sustainable development in the European Union: Monitoring Report on Progress Towards the SDGs in an EU Context] [Report webpage] [Brochure version]

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