Sustainability indicator project on regional and local level

Logo WattenmeerstiftungThe WSF has recently finalised a project analysing sustainability indicators in the Wadden Sea Region on regional and local level.
The project was mainly financed by the “Niedersächsische Wattenmeerstiftung”.


Indicators report ENG 300


In 2015 the stakeholders of the WSF intensively discussed relevance and value of the indicator tool and agreed to improve the instrument by in-depth analyses to make it more valuable and useful for stakeholders and policy makers on local and regional level. The data should be analyzed taking characteristics of the regions and specific circumstances into account.

Further, the improved instrument should provide an analysis of the different sustainability trends and their causes on regional and local level. This analysis could provide assistance in decision and policy making to strive for more sustainability.


From 2016 on, the WSF cooperated with the universities Tilburg (NL) and Kiel as well as with the Dutch Wadden Academy to build on the WSF indicator tool, using the Dutch approach to provide an attractive and valuable instrument for stakeholders and policy makers on local and regional level.

With the support of two master students from the university Kiel, a data set for more than 60 defined indicators for more than 500 municipalities in the German Wadden Sea Region (WSR) was compiled.

First results and discussion

Experiences with the WSF indicator tool clearly show some limits to assess the degree of sustainability on the local level, at least for German municipalities. The available data sets do have several gaps in information. Most of the indicator data is gathered on NUTS‑3 level and not on LAU 2 (former NUTS‑5) level, which are the municipalities. Also an intensive research in some municipalities itself could not deliver the data needed for an in-depth assessment. This is very much different to the Netherlands, where data on municipality level is almost fully available.

Following, it was agreed to assess the degree of sustainability on county level. This encompasses 11 counties and 3 urban districts along the German Wadden Sea coast. As the data is quite easily accessible, the elaboration of a time series is envisaged. In parallel, some municipalities in the coastal region of Lower Saxony were analysed with a number of specific indicators to describe sustainable development on local level as far as possible.

Project results

Data compilation and data assessment were part of a two-years project, co-financed by the “Niedersächsische Wattenmeerstiftung”. The final report “Development and Analysis of Sustainability Indicators” is available as pdf-download.

Please download here for the english version

Please download here for the german version


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