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Smeets, E., Weterings, R.. Environmental indicators: Typology and overview. European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, 1999 - Technical Report No 25.


A wide variety of environmental indicators is presently in use. These indicators reflect trends in the state of the environment and monitor the progress made in realising environmental policy targets. As such, environmental indicators have become indispensable to policy-makers.

However, it is becoming more and more difficult for policy-makers to grab the relevance and meaning of the existing environmental indicators, given the number and diversity of indicators presently in use. And new sets of environmental indicators are still to be expected. Therefore, some means of structuring and analysing indicators and related environment/society inter-connections is needed.

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the EEA ‘Typology of indicators’ and the DPSIR framework (Driving forces, Pressure, State, Impact, Response) used by the European Environment Agency in its reporting activities. This report should help policy-makers to understand the meaning of the information in indicator reports. In addition, we hope the paper will be useful in helping to define common standards for future indicator reports from the EEA and its member states.

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