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Defining what Sustainability and Sustainable Development mean is a critical task, as they are global objectives, which cover different aspects of life often difficult to quantify and describe. Talking about sustainable development means dealing with the development and implementation of SD strategies at international as well as at local level. With this regard, SD information plays a key role in monitoring SD performances at different administration levels. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of sustainable data availability on the internet at international, European, national and regional level. The paper is novel in the fact that the attention of the whole analysis focused on internet, considered as the principal mean for accessing data. In fact, the web has become through the years a fundamental tool for exchanging information amongst people, organisations, institutes, governments, thanks to its easy accessibility for a wide knowledge exchange. Sustainable development data collected at different administrative levels are classified and processed according to different methods and procedures; they are gathered at different scales, in different periods and they have a different frequency of updating. Data accuracy and meta-information on available data considerably vary, too. Few organisations at the international and at the European level such as, for example, World Bank, United Nations, OECD, FAO, Eurostat, EEA committed themselves to process information belonging to different sources aiming at standardising and producing comparable data sets for several nations and regions. Following the above considerations, various international, European and national organisations’ databases were investigated in order to check the availability of data at different administrative levels, mostly focusing on those sectors considered as pillars for the definition and monitoring of the implementation of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, as pointed out in the Communication of the EC SEC(2005) 161 final.
Caratti, Pietro ; Ferraguto , Ludovico ; and Riboldi, Chiara , "Sustainable Development Data Availability on Internet" (January 15, 2007). Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei Working Papers. Paper 100.