Last updated on:
Tuesday, 18 August 2020

As a controlling instrument, the German SDS includes indicators and targets that together depict the status of sustainable development in Germany and form the basis of the management of the SDS. The previously 38, and now 66 indicators, with their associated targets, allow an objective check of the status of development. When updating the indicators and targets for the new version of the SDS, the Federal Government was guided, among other things, by the following principles:

  • Greater international orientation of the Strategy, embracing the impetus of the 2030 Agenda;
  • Reflecting political priorities for an ambitious implementation of the 2030 Agenda and enhancement of sustainability policy while the number of indicators and targets remains limited;
  • Balance between desirable continuity of targets and indicators and meaningful enhancement; and
  • Preservation of controllability and communicability.

The new version of the SDS reformulates outdated objectives with reference to the year 2030 and defines new targets in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For every SDG, at least one indicator-backed political target is listed, which identifies relevant need for action in the area without describing it comprehensively. Instead of being overly prescriptive, the indicators are like keys: they open up the topic area and reveal its relevance for the further development of German policy. They are linked to considerably more extensive and detailed indicator systems or data collections on the website of the Federal Statistical Office or data collections on the website of the Federal Statistical Office.

With respect to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, there are two different reports that Germany compiles: 1) A report on the implementation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy, which reports on the monitoring of targets and indicators as laid out in the German SDS and are published twice a year. (The current 2017 Report is also available and another report has been adopted in November 2018 as an update); and 2) A report to the UN regarding the UN’s SDG indicators. Both reports are prepared by the Germany Federal Statistics Office. It should be noted, however, that the report to the UN does not have a direct link to the German SDS, but looks at the SDG targets and indicators as defined in the 2030 Agenda: it is updated annually by the Federal Statistics Office. Regarding the report on the implementation of the German SDS, the SDS itself is has been updated to reflect the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs, and the SDG targets, meaning Germany’s national reports are also aligned along the SDGs.

In addition to the indicator report, which reports about the implementation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy, Germany regularly supplies data on the set of global indicators as part of the UN’s international data survey. For Germany, an initial compilation of the data available for all 17 SDGs has been provided by the Federal Statistical Office since July 2016. The development of the global indicators is not yet complete, but progress can be viewed on statistical office’s page. The data will be updated annually, each year before the high-level political forum.

Every two years, the Federal Statistical Office independently assesses the development and the status quo of the national SD targets and indicators (see Indicator Reports 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014; 2016, and 2018; every four years the Indicator Reports form part of the Progress Reports).

Indicator Report 2018.

Since 2008, they include - in addition to the detailed descriptions and trends of the indicators - a brief statistical evaluation regarding their distance to the envisaged target. This evaluation is graphically illustrated by weather symbols, e.g. ”sunny” or ”cloudy”, in line with (previous) Eurostat indicator-symbols. The Indicator Reports can be downloaded in German and English. In 2018, out of 63 indicators 28 were assessed as predominantly positive (e.g. education or renewable energy). The indicators for sustainable mobility and biodiversity were among the issues with remained a difficult challenge. The next indicator report will be published in 2020.

 Sustainable Development Indicators