African Nations Convene to Shape a Regional Community of Practice on Natural Capital Accounting

Participants in Africa Forum on Natural Capital Accounting in Kampala, Uganda. Photo courtesy of World Bank.

Representatives from 18 African countries met on 21 November 2019 for the first ‘Africa Forum on Natural Capital Accounting’ in Kampala, Uganda. Together, they committed to create a new Community of Practice on Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) in Africa. NCA and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) provide a way to generate consistent and comparable data on natural resources – such as land, forests, and water – and their interaction with the economy, including the ecosystem services that natural resources provide. This systematic way of capturing the contribution of ecosystems and natural resources to well-being provides a much richer measure of economic development that complements standard measures such as gross domestic product (GDP). 

The day-long forum was co-organized by the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), and the World Bank through its Global Program on Sustainability (GPS). The Government of Uganda hosted the event and welcomed the participants by providing opening statements.  

As an outcome of the forum, the country representatives committed to creating a new Community of Practice for NCA in Africa while the organizers and other partners made a commitment to provide available technical support for the development of NCA in Africa over the coming years, and to work with donors and financiers to mobilize the additional resources needed to meet a growing demand for support. Next steps will include building an implementation plan based on the ideas from the Forum.   

Mr. Stefan Schweinfest, Director of UNSD, supported the outcomes of the Forum and said that “there is a growing momentum for Natural Capital Accounting with an increasing number of countries implementing the SEEA and mainstreaming it into policy. The EU funded project on Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem project has contributed to building this momentum by providing opportunities for countries to attend capacity building workshops and contributing their experience to the advancement of methodologies. UNSD is committed to scale up the SEEA implementation in Africa. A community of practice will provide an opportunity for countries to share their challenges and success stories as well as providing a forum for engaging new countries that want to start implementing the accounts.” 

More details can be found in the GDSA press release