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European Commission | Environmental monitoring in European regions using the sustainable development goals (SDG) framework

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ABSTRACT - The paper focuses on environmental monitoring in European regions using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework. Adopted in 2015, the United Nations SDG are a set of global goals developed to guide countries towards sustainable development. Although designed for the national level, it is growingly argued that achieving the SDG requires action at the sub-national, local level. With this in mind, in this paper, we use indicators co-designed by researchers and SDG practitioners from European regional administrations to monitor the environmental status of selected European regions over a period of time. We consider environmental monitoring a domain that encompasses activities beyond the monitoring and reducing CO2 emissions alone and widely regards biodiversity and conservation, ecosystems, climate change, environmental pollution and human ecology. By default, this touches upon different sectors of society (from energy to mobility, and production to consumption), and the latter is also reflected in the SDG and their targets. To this end, we isolate indicators that directly and indirectly address the environment as a domain to highlight areas where there is a need for improvement. Finally, the paper provides insights into how the SDG framework can be used to monitor environmental progress at the regional level in Europe and how the current policy framework might also contribute to this progress.



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