Natural Capital Accounting
© Michel Roggo / WWF- Canon
The United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD) the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) TEEB Office and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity have recently finished a project on Advancing Natural Capital Accounting (ANCA) funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
The project has reviewed data availability and measurement practices and develop plans for advancing Ecosystem Accounting in pilot countries. The following have been deliverd:
- A 5 year Global Strategy for advancing the testing and research agenda of the SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting;
- Guidelines on testing;
- Training material;
- Communication and outreach material for SEEA; and
- Country plans for Bhutan, Chile, Indonesia, Mauritius, Mexico, South Africa, and Vietnam.
ANCA Country Plans
South Africa Accounts
- National Plan
- National River Ecosystem Accounts for South Africa - Discussion Document
- Land and Ecosystem Accounting in KwaZulu-Natal - Discussion Document
» A Perspective on Capacity and Capability in the Context of Ecosystem Accounting
» Technical Guide 1: A functional Approach to EEA for Units and Ecosystem Services
» Technical Guide 2: Land Accounts and Ecosystem Extent
» Technical Guide 3: Land and Ecosystem Condition and Capacity
» Technical Guide 4: Water and Ecosystem Accounting
» Technical Guide 5: Carbon and Ecosystem Accounting
» Technical Guide 6: Linkage between Ecosystem Service Accounts and Ecosystems Asset Accounts
» Technical Guide 7: Compilation of Data, Tools, Methods and Pilots in Canada
» Technical Guide 8: Spatial units, Scaling and Aggregation
» Technical Guide 9: Biophysical Modelling and Analysis of Ecosystem Services in an Ecosystem Accounting Context
The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) has emerged as a leading tool in the support of policy and analysis of the environment and its relation with economic and human activities. Its particular strength is its capacity to integrate environmental information into standard measures of economic activity. It can therefore facilitate the mainstreaming of environmental information in economic development and planning discussions and serve to recognise the connections between environmental policy objectives and broader societal outcomes.
Critical global policy demand to advance environmental-economic accounting is expressed in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Aichi target 2 under this strategic goal commits government to integrate, by 2020, biodiversity values into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes, and to incorporate them into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems. This objective is repeated in Target 15.9 of the Outcome Document - Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.
The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Central Framework (SEEA Central Framework) was adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) at its 43rd session in 2012 as the international statistical standard for environmental-economic accounting. Further, at its 44th session in 2013, the UNSC endorsed SEEA 2012 Experimental Ecosystem Accounting. The Commission encouraged its use by international, regional agencies and countries wishing to test and experiment in this new area of statistics. Together these technical documents provide a comprehensive platform for the development of comparable measures of the relationship between the environment and the economy across the world and support mainstreaming of the full range of ecosystem services and benefits in standard macro-economic accounts and indicators.
The focus of this project on advancing and testing SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting sits at the leading edge of accounting practice. The modelling and scaling of information on ecosystem services, ecosystem condition, and ecosystem capacity across all types of ecosystems represents a significant challenge. However, understanding and knowledge in this area is advancing at a rapid pace involving people from many disciplines including ecology, economics, statistics and geography. Data sources range from specific local data to global satellite imagery. While complex, there is undoubtedly a way forward and this project seeks to consolidate the gains that have been made and support the advancement of the work. The needs have never been greater.
Relevant documents and publications
- Experimental Biodiversity Accounting as a component of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA-EEA)
- System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012: Experimental Ecosystem Accounting
- System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012: Central Framework
- Briefing note, SEEA-Experimental Ecosystem Accounting
- Briefing note, SEEA-Central Framework
Relevant meetings and events
- Natural Capital Accounting related events at CBD COP-12
- Regional workshop Latin America and the Caribbean - Santiago, Chile (13-16 April 2015)
- Regional workshop Asia - Jakarta, Indonesia (14-15 April 2015)
- Forum of Experts in SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting - New York, UN HQ (28-30 April 2015)
- Meeting on linking the SEEA with business accounting (to be announced)
Related projects, initiatives and websites
- London Group on Environmental Accounting
- Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES)
- Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVE) Partnership
- The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (UNDP)
- Project for Ecosystem Services (ProEcoServ)