Measuring transitions of European regions: towards Sustainable Human Development?

Measuring transitions of European regions: towards Sustainable Human Development?

Rising inequalities and environmental degradation are major threats to the long-term prosperity of modern economic systems. Significant attention has thus been placed on sustainable transition in European policymaking, as seen by the Next Generation EU and European Green Deal and the rise in tools for monitoring transitions. Many indicators have been developed at the national level which hide important regional heterogeneities and inequalities.  Partners from the University of Florence developed of a composite index: the Sustainable Human Development Index (SHDI).

This index is based on the Capability Approach and the four pillars of sustainability; economic, social, environmental, and institutional, and aims to track and analyse Sustainable Human Development (SHD) across European regions using a dataset constructed at the NUTS2 level for 2010-19. Moreover, it focuses on synergies and trade-offs among multidimensional objectives of development.

The Sustainable Human Development Index (SHDI) has been constructed using the MSI approach introduced by Mauro et al., which allows flexibility in the penalisation of heterogeneity in achievements. To develop the index, Researchers used data collected from Eurostat, ESPON, the Quality of Governance (QoG) Institute, and DG REGIO, and GIS data and it applies Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and panel data models to estimate the effect of socio-economic and demographic factors on SHD at the regional level. Results highlight strong regional inequalities in both the SHDI and four domains across Europe, with a noticeable core-periphery divide in high and low levels.

There is some evidence of convergence across the EU27, with Eastern European regions scoring the lowest but improving the most. Progress has been made in social and economic domains, while environmental conditions are lagging throughout Europe. Strong trade-offs are found between traditional economic and sustainability indicators.

The Sustainable Human Development Index has been presented by Tiziano Distefano, Adam Francescutto and Prof. Mario Biggeri during the 17th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics/span>< that took place in Colombia in October 2023.

The conference is organized by an inter-institutional consortium composed of the following Colombian Universities: Universidad del Magdalena, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad de Los Andes, and Universidad del Valle, and by the Mesoamerican and Andean Societies for Ecological Economics. The conference will have two main events, starting with a specialized course for decision makers from across Latin America and other stakeholders, to be held on the 23rd and 24th of October in the capital city of Bogotá, followed by the main conference, comprised of academic sessions and dialogues between ways of knowing, which will take place in the Caribbean city of Santa Marta, from the 26th to the 28th of October.