The SEEA and Global Policy

The SEEA is well-positioned to support progress on a range of critical global initiatives, notably Agenda 2030, a post-2020 biodiversity agenda, and international climate policy. An overview of how the SEEA can be used for policy can be found in our publication, How Natural Capital Accounting Contributes to Integrated Policies for Sustainability (UN, 2020).  

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The systems approach of the SEEA make it an ideal framework for directly measuring several SDG indicators and provide supplemental information for numerous others. The United Nations Commission of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting (UNCEEA) has spent considerable effort to align the SEEA framework with the SDGs and currently 40 indicators for nine Sustainable Development Goals can be evaluated using SEEA data.

The global biodiversity agenda. At a fundamental level, building support for biodiversity protection among key decisionmakers is much easier if there are clear and understandable links to economic and social development. The SEEA provides a consistent monitoring framework that produces actionable indicators on ecosystem extent and condition, as well as the supply and use of ecosystem services. applications. It can also be used to track expenditures on conservation efforts in both the public and private sectors. Its integrated systems approach can clarify the major drivers of biodiversity loss and ecosystem changes, identify key trade-offs, and support the development of “win-win” conservation approaches. The link between the SEEA and biodiversity policy and case studies are elaborated in our publication, Natural Capital Accounting for Integrated Biodiversity Policies (UN, 2020). 

Climate change. SEEA accounts can be used to inform a wide range of climate change related policy questions related to climate impacts and adaptation strategies. It can also help with mitigation strategies, for example through using ecosystem accounting to understand impacts on ecosystems and to develop nature-based solutions. It can also help with developing mitigation strategies by providing consistent information on emissions by different economic sectors, allowing decision makers to understand inefficiencies in the economy. Case studies and further information can be found in our publication, Natural Capital Accounting for Integrated Climate Change Policies (UN, 2020).