Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.
United Nations Development AccountUnited Nations Headquarters New York

Development Account Projects

Measuring the Green Economy In Support of the Development Goals: Statistical Frameworks, Indicators, and Instruments


Green growth is gaining support as a way to pursue economic growth and development, while preventing environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and unsustainable natural resource use. Since developing countries have a larger share of their economies directly dependent on natural resources, the issue of green economy and green growth becomes even more relevant for them, in particular when sustainable development and aspects of poverty eradication are taken into consideration.

Green economy and green growth within the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication is a theme of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio+20). In addition, in early 2009 the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination launched the green economy initiative as one of the Joint Crisis Initiatives, which includes a wide range of research and capacity-building activities by more than 20 United Nations agencies, including the Bretton Woods Institutions.

Measuring progress towards a green economy requires a solid foundation of statistical data. As such, the project will build on the methodological work of ongoing programmes adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission on the development of relevant international statistical standards and recommendations. The project will also help build statistical capacity to produce economic and environmental indicators, with a particular focus on such sectors as energy, industry, water and waste management. A list of indicators and methodologies will be developed on the basis of existing frameworks, such as the framework for the development of environment statistics and the system of environmental-economic accounting.

In this project, the United Nations regional commissions will be integral partners, coordinating activities with their respective member countries and providing input on region-specific requirements and region-specific barriers to measuring proposed indicator sets in a timely manner. Cooperation with UNEP and UNCTAD will ensure that activities are consistent with other United Nations initiatives on green growth/green economy, that proposed indicator sets are developed in accordance with needs identified by these partners and that statistical data are embedded in progress-measuring efforts by other United Nations entities.


To improve the capacity of national statistical offices in developing countries to measure progress towards achieving a green economy, through utilization of a comprehensive set of economic and environmental indicators

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased awareness of Member States of the need for descriptive and timely statistics for measuring of progress towards a green economy
  • Enhanced capacity of national statistical offices to measure progress towards a green economy, in general, and in the areas of energy, industry, water, and waste management, in particular

Implementation status:

In progress.