Sommaire: 15 June 2012, Brussels - Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, releases today the publication "Figures for the Future - 20 years of sustainable development in Europe? A guide for citizens", in connection with the Rio+20 summit, the United Nations conference on sustainable development which will take place on 20-22 June 2012. This publication of 160 pages presents 70 of the EU Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) which are used to measure and monitor the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, in a new and easy-to-understand style.
The publication is complemented by four videos about green growth, green economy and poverty.
Statistics and sustainable development are often seen as abstract concepts. The aim of this publication is to make them accessible and understandable for all citizens, not only for specialists, using a novel style of presenting data through an interesting story. It follows a fictional 17 year old student, Anne, as she makes a presentation on sustainable development to a group of students from all around the world. Her neighbour, the journalist Marta, helps her to prepare for the event. Anne's presentation focuses on whether the EU has moved towards sustainable development over the past 20 years by exploring the Eurostat data on sustainable development. Throughout the presentation Anne discusses issues important to citizens' everyday life, such as:
How has our climate really changed? How is this related to energy use and transport? What does it mean to be poor in Europe? Are there as many birds around as before? Has life improved for Europeans over the past 20 years? These are the type of questions tackled in the publication, which contains chapters on GDP growth and employment, energy, transport, regional disparities, poverty and social exclusion, waste, pushing back nature, climate change, globalisation, EU international commitments, ageing society and green growth.
Also using a human interest approach, the four videos complement the statistical analysis of the questions in the publication with a quicker access to the information. They aim to make more tangible some of the concepts around the EU SDIs. The videos are interlinked with the publication through the character of the journalist Marta. Following Marta's work as a journalist, viewers can become informed about subjects such as what green growth could mean for the EU's sustainable development, how sustainably Europeans consume and produce electricity, whether poverty is only a question of income, how Europeans feel about poverty in different cities and how evenly the national income is distributed in the EU.