In the federal reports on sustainable development, the FPB describes the existing situation in the field of sustainable development in Belgium and in the rest of the world. A model and several indicators are used to describe and organize the information. As new publications are issued, improvements are made to set out the information clearly and appropriately as far as issues of sustainable development are concerned.
The DPSIR model
From the start, the DPSIR model has been used to present the indicators (see section 2 of Towards sustainable development?, first federal report on sustainable development, 1999). DPSIR stands for driving forces (D), pressure (P), state (S), impact (I) and response (R). The international situation and, after that, the situation prevailing in Belgium have been described using 80 indicators and a lot of additional quantitative information.
Indicators presented in information sheets
In a second stage, a slightly simplified version of DPSIR has been used: pressure – state - response. The indicators have been presented in identically structured information sheets, which are classified into three categories (see section 2 of A step towards sustainable development?, second federal report on sustainable development, 2003). The 66 indicators deal with the ten issues broached in the report:
production strategies of businesses;
ethical financing of businesses;
the social economy;
the use of information and communication technologies;
fishing and biological diversity in the marine environment;
the use of genetically modified plants;
energy production and consumption;
mobility and transport of persons;
health at work;
Those indicators are used to suggest possible links between the social, environmental and economic components of development and to understand the interactions between the issues dealt with in the report.
The TransGovern model
With the TransGovern model, a step forward has been taken in improving the organization of social, environmental and economic information. The model links together the transformation of a society’s living conditions and public policy. It also clarifies the relations between the determining factors of the living conditions and the components of the policy (see section 1 of Comprendre et gouverner le développement/Ontwikkeling begrijpen en sturen, third federal report on sustainable development, 2005).
The TransGovern model is a new combination of several existing models:
the DPSIR model;
the triangular model of the interaction between the human, environmental and economic capitals;
the module concerning public policy, which was developed in the first and second reports and which includes, for example, the institutional capital.
Table of indicators
The indicators in the first two reports are reproduced in a supplement to the third report: Tableau d’indicateurs de développement durable/Tabel met indicatoren van duurzame ontwikkeling. The document contains 44 identically structured information sheets, classified according to the model ‘driving forces – pressures – state – responses’ (DPSR). New indicators have been added so that the social, environmental, economic and institutional components of sustainable development are better represented. The table specifies whether or not the indicator’s evolution is towards the general goals or specific targets – insofar as these are available.