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UNEP Report Highlights Role of Indicators in Transition to Green Economy

UNEP3 December 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a report suggesting indicators to measure progress towards a green economy that can be used to guide sustainable development policy interventions.

The report, titled "Measuring Progress Towards an Inclusive Green Economy," was released at the start of the "Measuring the Future We Want" conference, which is convening from 4-6 December 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The report suggests supplementing gross domestic product (GDP) as a measurement of growth and development with indicators that take into account the value of a country's environmental goods and services, such as forests, air or water resources, as well as human well-being and quality of life. Among the indicators suggested are: carbon emissions; carbon price; renewable energy share of the energy mix; forestland and water stress; waste collection, recycling and reuse rates; investment in "green" research and development; fossil fuel, water and fishery subsidies; value of natural resource stocks and of ecosystem services; expenditure in sustainable procurement; literacy rate; levels of harmful chemicals in drinking water; number of people hospitalized due to air pollution; and access to modern energy, water and sanitation.

The report also discusses how indicators can be used at each stage of policy development, from identifying key issues to assessing potential costs and benefits, to measuring the performance and impacts of policy options.

The "Measuring the Future We Want" Conference brings together 200 experts from governments, international organizations and major groups, and focuses on indicators work by governments, businesses, academia, NGOs and UN agencies, as well as by the entities comprising the Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP), a partnership of UNEP, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). [UNEP Press Release] [UN Press Release] [Publication: Measuring Progress Towards an Inclusive Green Economy]