Environmental governance indicators and indices in support of policy-making

Authored by: Dóra Almássy , László Pintér

Routledge Handbook of Sustainability Indicators

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138674769
eBook ISBN: 9781315561103
Adobe ISBN:


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The proliferation of environmental sustainability-related policy initiatives over the last decades brought about increasing interest in their functioning as instruments of governance and their role in influencing environmental outcomes. While there is no lack of interest in setting environmental goals, the gap between aspirations and actual results is often increasing. As capacity is an important aspect of the implementation of environment-related policy mechanisms, the assessment of environmental capacities to implement environmental goals can support the understanding why implementation is lagging behind. One way to provide such assessment is via composite indicators (indices) that can summarize multi-dimensional problems and evaluations in a simplified manner for policy-makers and the general public. Over the last years several indices have been developed that focus on the capacity dimension of environmental governance. Given the proliferation of measurement tools it is important to understand their methodological soundness and applicability. Presenting the state-of-the-art in existing environmental governance indices and their methodological approaches, this chapter provides an overview of some of the most widely known indices. The methodological soundness is presented based on the ten-step OECD and EC JRC composite indicator development methodology (OECD and EC JRC, 2008), leading to some insight related to the applicability of the indices in policy-making.

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