UN Statistical Commission side events on Ocean Accounting and Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism

Two side events were organized by the SEEA community during the 52nd session of the United Nations Statistical Commission that was conducted virtually: (1) From experimental ocean accounts to SEEA-Ocean on 25 February 2021; and (2) High Level Discussion on Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism on 12 March 2021.

From experimental ocean accounts to SEEA-Ocean

25 February 2021

The Statistical Commission side event “From experimental ocean accounts to SEEA-Ocean” was organized by UN-ESCAP, the Government of Canada, the Global Ocean Accounts Partnership, UNSD and the World Bank on 25 February 2021. The side event was attended by over 140 participants and resulted in a lively discussion among the speakers. The panel speakers and participants stressed the policy relevance of ocean accounts and the need for methodological guidance in this area. The importance of collaborative efforts and the use of big data were raised, as well as the need for interaction between the terrestrial and the marine space, and a modular approach to implementation of the accounts.

The side event started with an ‘Around the Globe’ panel discussion with representatives of data producers (national statistical offices), data users (line ministries) and academia from Australia, Canada, South Africa, Thailand and the United Kingdom. The discussion highlighted the high policy demand for ocean accounts and the importance of progressing methodological guidance for ocean accounting from the perspective of decision-makers, statisticians and scientists. Following the panel discussion, the partner organizers were given the chance to provide their views on what should come next, concluding with a very lively open debate. The side event recording is available here.

For oceans there is currently no globally agreed standard for integrating diverse ocean data into ocean accounts. Given the high policy demand for ocean accounting and the global importance of the ocean economy, the Commission supported the proposal to establish a working group to draft a methodological document for ocean accounting, SEEA Ocean, in support of the SEEA Central Framework and SEEA Ecosystem Accounting.


High Level Discussion on Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism

12 March 2021

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), is working with countries and institutions in the development of a Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (SF-MST). Such a framework is as important as ever in the aftermath of the global health and economic crisis, as the tourism sector looks to restart in a more sustainable manner.

UNWTO and UNSD co-organized a side event, chaired by UNCEEA Chair, Mr. Bert Kroese, aimed at bringing together the statistical and tourism communities. During the side event, several high-level officials from national statistical offices discussed the need for measuring the sustainability of tourism in all its dimensions--economic, social and environmental--and presented their experiences in Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism. Likewise, key representatives from tourism ministries and organizations underlined the pressing need for data on the sustainability of tourism as the industry builds back from COVID-19. The side event complemented the background document on Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism which was presented and welcomed by the Commission. The Commission also noted the interest from countries in this work, agreed to the process of the document’s finalization, including the Committee’s review prior to final consideration by the UNWTO Committee on Statistics for its subsequent presentation to the Commission.