8th Environment Action Programme: EU sets out to measure progress on Green Deal environment and climate goals

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

Today, the Commission presented a list of headline indicators for monitoring progress towards the EU’s environment and climate goals to 2030, as well as the 2050 long-term vision to ‘live well, within planetary boundaries’. Resulting from intense consultations with stakeholders and Member States, the new Monitoring Framework under the 8th Environment Action Programme aims to foster transparency and inform Europeans about the impact of EU climate and environmental policy.

EU policies have to ensure that the EU gets back on track to living and working within planetary boundaries. As such, the indicators capture progress towards environmental wellbeing, including also economic and social aspects. As such, they could pave the way for measuring the health of our economies and societies based on wellbeing, and beyond the most well-known economic indicator, GDP.

Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, in charge of the European Green Deal, said: “We have very ambitious environmental and climate targets to help us deliver the just green transition that Europe and the world needs. But what you cannot measure, you cannot manage. To keep us on track, we need to keep a close eye on whether we are meeting our goals. These indicators help us do so.”

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said: “Policies are only as good as their implementation. These headline indicators will help us pursue the agreed policies under the European Green Deal, by shedding light on the trends and facilitating an informed discussion between policy-makers on where further efforts are needed.”

The headline indicators follow the structure of the 8th Environment Action Programme building on the European Green Dealand include the 2-3 most policy relevant and statistically robust indicators for each of the thematic priority objectives to 2030, covering climate mitigation, climate adaptation, circular economy, zero pollution, and biodiversity.

In addition, the list includes five indicators to measure progress towards addressing the main environmental and climate pressures. In line with European Green Deal objectives, this covers the transition we need to see in the coming years towards sustainable systems for energy, industry, mobility and food.

Moreover, the headline set includes indicators to monitor progress towards the main enabling conditions, covering sustainable finance, the ‘polluters-pay principle’, and phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies.

The last chapter of the monitoring framework includes systemic indicators that aim to capture progress towards the three dimensions of environmental wellbeing, to cover also economic and social aspects beyond nature protection.

Next steps

The Commission will report annually on the progress made, based on stocktaking done by the European Environment Agency from 2023 onwards, with the help of the selected headline indicators. This reporting will facilitate an annual exchange between the Commission, the Member States and the European Parliament to be held in accordance with the 8th Environmental Action Programme.

In addition, the Commission will conduct two in-depth assessments during the lifespan of the programme – a mid-term review in 2024 and a final evaluation in 2029.

The Commission will continue to promote coherence between the 8th Environment Action Programme headline indicators and other crosscutting monitoring tools, such as the European Semester and EU’s monitoring on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


The 8th Environment Action Programme entered into force on 2 May 2022 and includes an obligation for the Commission to present a monitoring framework, based on a limited number of headline indicators. These should include, where available, systemic indicators that address interlinkages between environment-social and environmental-economic policy considerations, respectively.

The 8th EAP aims at accelerating the green transition in a just and inclusive way, with the 2050 long-term objective of ‘Living well, within planetary boundaries’, already established in the 7th programme (2014-2020). For more than 40 years, these action programmes have provided the EU with policy frameworks that deliver results and ensure predictable and coordinated action for Europe’s environment and climate change policies.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: