Europe Sustainable Development Report 2021: Public Consultation

We invite you to submit your comments on indicator selection, raw data, and thresholds used in the upcoming Europe Sustainable Development Report 2021.

The Europe Sustainable Development Report 2021 is a joint initiative by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), with support from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).This is the third edition of this flagship report. The 2020 edition can be accessed here.


The European Union (EU), its Commission, and member states must assume a stronger role in promoting and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the outcomes of the Paris Agreement. Both provide useful and timely frameworks for mapping out a long-term vision for the economic, social, and environmental transformations that Europe needs. Building greater momentum for SDG implementation requires the mobilization and involvement of stakeholders from across the EU. We need more data-driven discussions about the challenges and opportunities to address them through long-term strategies at national and EU levels. This was underlined in the 2019 SDSN study Exposing EU policy gaps to address the SDGs commissioned by the EESC.

Sound metrics and data are critical for turning the SDGs into practical tools for problem solving. Yet, there is currently no fit-for-purpose instrument to measure the distance to be covered and the efforts made by the EU and its member states to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Civil society would also like to see greater involvement of non-state actors in the identification of appropriate data and data sources to capture the full range of sustainable development challenges across the EU.

SDSN and IEEP, in collaboration with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), are launching a participative process to develop the second edition of the Europe Sustainable Development Report (ESDR) in order to present an up-to-date, quantitative view of the major SDG achievement gaps of the EU and all its member states. The report is co-designed with civil society organizations and other actors to ensure that it responds to the needs and to build buy-in. As in the previous edition, we will estimate the SDG achievement gap for each metric by building on the methodology of the Sustainable Development Report 2021 (which includes the SDG Index and Dashboards) published annually since 2016 by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and SDSN. The report’s methodology was audited by the European Commission Joint Research Centre in June 2019.

The Europe Sustainable Development Report will be published in mid December 2021. The exact launch date remains to be confirmed.

Objective of this Consultation

The report draws on a mix of data sources from the European Commission services and agencies (Eurostat, European Energy Agency, Joint Research Centre, Directorate-Generals, etc…) but also from other non-official data produced by the research community, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders, to ensure that all major policy needs are addressed. Country profiles and data visualisation tools will communicate the findings and peer to peer learning and exchange events are planned to support evidence-based implementation of the SDGs in the EU. The aim of the report is also to help identify major data gaps that need to be addressed in future years.

The SDSN and IEEP are working with the EESC to mobilize stakeholders across the European Union to review (1) the selection of indicators and (2) the absence of errors in the data presented and (3) key methodological choices (especially time-bound thresholds) and (4) the initial results and findings. The two organisations (SDSN and IEEP) will be responsible for making the final independent decisions on indicator selection/exclusion and methodological choices and will draft the report.

The objective of this consultation is to provide feedback on a proposed list of 107 indicators pre-selected by SDSN. The list builds extensively on last year’s indicator list. The selected indicators were identified as potentially suitable SDG metrics based on five criteria and following a careful review of 300+ indicators (“comprehensive list”) available from official and non-official data sources.

At this stage we are seeking the following types of feedback:

  • Proposals for new indicators (especially under SDG 12-15)
  • Verify the absence of errors in the raw data presented
  • Feedback on thresholds (“green values”) to be achieved by the European Union and its member states by 2030. These thresholds are used to identify “distance to targets” and highlight major priorities for action.
  • Feedback on the draft findings and results (do they intuitively make sense)

Organisations are welcome to provide comments on indicators under each SDG but can also focus only on their areas of core expertise (e.g. economic, social, environmental, governance goals). We encourage each organisation to share the consultation material with colleagues in their organisations that have specific knowledge and expertise on indicators/monitoring.


The public consultation will open on Monday, October 25. The deadline for submitting your comments and feedback is Wednesday, November 3, 2021.


For any questions, please contact

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

See More...