European environmental economic accounts (EEEAs) should be made more useful for policymakers, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. EEEAs are an important source of information for monitoring and evaluating environmental policies. But several issues prevent them from reaching their full potential, say the auditors.
EEEAs provide a statistical framework to help describe the relationship between the environment and the economy. For instance, they make it possible to identify how much protecting the environment costs and who pays for it. As such, EEEAs are important for evaluating key policies, such as the EU’s 7th Environment Action Programme (7th EAP), and for measuring progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The auditors assessed how the European Commission had set up, managed and used the EEEAs and whether it had taken account of data needs when designing and developing them. They also examined the quality assessment procedures for EEEA data.
“Environmental pressures are increasing and it is essential that policy-makers have at their disposal up-to-date and reliable information to monitor progress towards sustainable development”, said João Figueiredo, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “Our audit shows that European Environmental Economic Accounts must be further improved to maximise their impact and allow for timely and effective action.”