Tracking Progress

New metrics and measurements of economic performance and sustainability
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Open access to data and knowledge is fundamental to the transition to a vibrant and inclusive green economy. Such access enables all stakeholders to better understand and participate in the collection, use and analysis of data. That’s why UNEP has developed UNEP Live (, a web-based knowledge management platform, that gives users access to substantiated, contextualized data about sustainable consumption and production patterns and economic performance. Such information, which looks beyond growth in income and GDP to include human well-being, can be a powerful tool for policy-makers.

Two specific data flows can help countries track progress toward an inclusive green economy: i) the Resource Efficient Indicators and ii) the Inclusive Wealth Index. These measures also track progress toward Sustainable Development Goals 8 (decent work and economic growth), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 17 (means of implementation). In addition, UNEP is finalizing a framework to measure Green Economy Progress (GEP); this tool tracks countries’ progress towards achieving an inclusive green economy transition. It is also closely linked to the 2030 Agenda, as the GEP measurement framework relates directly to eight out of the 17 SDGs.

Resource Efficient Indicators
Material flows and resource productivity indicators are important for monitoring changes in the patterns and rates of resource use as economies grow. As interest in building green economies expands, this data will help governments, policy researchers and other stakeholders (i) develop a better understanding of how economic growth patterns influence resource use; (ii) evaluate the impacts of policies that have been adopted in the past; and (iii) minimize resource use through targeted sustainable consumption and production policies and actions.

Indicators for measuring the success of sustainable resource management are based on material flow accounting principles. Such information can help track progress toward SDG 8, target 8.4: “Improve global resource efficiency in consumption and production”, and SDG 12, target 12.2: “Achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources”.

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Inclusive Wealth Index
The inclusive wealth index measures the wealth of nations in relation to a country’s productive base. It accounts for all of the assets from which human well-being is derived – including manufactured, human and natural capital – and shows the percentage changes over time. The inclusive wealth index measures traditional stocks of wealth as well as less tangible factors such as education levels, health care, environmental assets and the functioning of key ecosystem services. The index contributes to SDG Goal 17, target 17.19: “Develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement gross domestic product”.

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The Green Economy Progress measurement framework
UNEP is designing a Green Economy Progress (GEP) measurement framework to measure progress towards achieving the transition to an inclusive green economy at the national and global levels. The framework is meant to support a transition to an economy that produces environmentally friendly goods and services and that creates economic opportunities, social improvements and new jobs while staying within planetary boundaries.

The GEP measurement framework includes a composite index, the Green Economy Progress (GEP) index as well as a “dashboard” of indicators. This project is an initiative under the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), which brings together five UN organizations (UNEP, UNIDO, UNITAR, ILO and UNDP).

The GEP index captures particular characteristics of the green economy by including multidimensional indicators, such as measures that capture the link between health and the environment. It focuses on countries’ progress with respect to their own targets, and it also tracks the sustainability of that progress. In other words, this ensures that progress in improving current human well-being does not come at the expense of future well-being.

Two workshops were organized in 2015 to present the conceptual framework and a first prototype of the GEP measurement framework. Participants included academics, PAGE partners, the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, the OECD and NGOs.

A draft report that summarizes the first results of the framework was made available in October 2015. A final publication will be available in early 2016.

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