2010 Indicator Report of the Federal Statistical Office
Progress made in education, resources at standstill
12.08.2010 - The Federal Statistical Office submitted the 2010 Indicator Report on Sustainable Development in Germany (PDF, 3.6 MB, destatis.de) at the end of July. The status report shows to what extent the latest ecological, economic and social developments in the Federal Republic of Germany correspond to the goals set by the Federal Government in its national sustainability strategy. Compared with the preceding report of 2008, the new analysis chronicles that some progress has been made in German sustainability policy: accordingly, 19 of the 35 sustainability indicators examined are moving in the right direction. In only one instance – national debt – have there been significant setbacks compared to 2008 as a consequence of the economic and financial crisis.
According to the report, the Federal Government has especially moved closer to realising its sustainability goals in the area of education. In this field, four indicators show improvements compared with the preceding report of 2008. Thus, the proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds without a school leaving certificate or training qualification fell, and more non-German pupils successfully graduated from school. At the same time, there was a rise in the number of 25-year-olds graduating from university or college and in first-year students: at 39.8 percent in 2009, the figure fell just short of the envisaged goal of 40 percent for 2010. Federal minister Ronald Pofalla noted that this was an “especially” positive development as statisticians had recorded a downward trend in 2008. As Head of the Federal Chancellery and Chair of the Secretaries’ Committee for Sustainable Development, Mr Pofalla took receipt of the Indicator Report on behalf of the Federal Government.
The report attests that, based on its targets, the Federal Government has made good progress in terms of its further expansion of renewable energy sources. The targets set for 2010 have already been “clearly surpassed” in the estimation of the analysis, which also states that the revised, elevated goals for 2020 could also be met if the rate of development continued at the same pace. The Wiesbaden-based Federal Statistical Office also registered a further reduction in CO2 emissions, reporting that the Federal Government has met its reduction target for 2010 two years earlier than planned. The Federal Minister for the Environment, Norbert Röttgen, explained that renewable energy sources had been a “driving force” behind this achievement.
The latest analysis has revealed less positive trends in a number of other ecological indicators of relevance to the economy. The report states, for example, that it will not be possible to stop the depletion of domestic species by 2015 “without significant additional effort”. The statisticians’ assessment of the accomplishments made in expanding organic farming is similarly pessimistic. The share of organic farmland in farmland as a whole rose by a mere 1.6 per cent to 5.4 per cent in the period from 1994 and 2008, although the Federal Government is striving to reach a 20-percent share. The Federal Government has not specified a deadline by which this goal is to be reached. The report concludes, however, that if things continue to develop at the current rate, it will “take many more years to reach the target value”. Until now, the rate of conversion has been nothing but “moderate”.
By the same token, the use of raw materials by the industry has not fallen as significantly as the goal prescribed in the sustainability strategy. In contrast to the Federal Government’s envisaged doubling of raw material productivity between 1994 and 2020, only a 39.6 per cent rise had been recorded by 2008. The land use indicator also reveals a deep divide between the target and actual values: although land depletion has recently fallen from an average 120 hectares per day to 104 hectares, it remains well above the target of 30 hectares by 2020 set out in the national sustainability strategy. In the estimation of the Wiesbaden-based statisticians, the trends for raw material productivity and land consumption are both moving in the right direction, though their present rates suggest that the Federal Government will not reach the established sustainability goals by the specified deadline.
The Indicator Reports of the Federal Statistical Office
Since 2006, the Federal Statistical Office has been analysing trends in the 35 sustainable development indicators stipulated in the national sustainability strategy. It reports on these trends and indicators every two years. To enable readers to follow the status of the sustainable development indicators more readily, each indicator is assigned one of four “weather symbols” (“sunny” to “thundery”). The symbols show where the indicators stand in terms of their progress to date and an ongoing calculation of how they are expected to develop by their respective target year. In addition to this, the Federal Statistical Office simultaneously publishes data on the 2010 Indicator Report. The data contains full and complete time series for the indicator values as well as background data. In the years between the reports, the Federal Statistical Office updates select eco-economic indicators in its environmental and economic indicator series.