UNSD in collaboration with UNECE and the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus (Belstat) organized a workshop on the “System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Central Framework (SEEA-CF) and environment-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators” for countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia in Minsk, Belarus, 15-18 January 2018.
Natural Capital Accounting Project
Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services
About the Project
The United Nations Statistics Division, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the European Union have launched the project “Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services”. The project, which is funded by the European Union, aims to assist the five participating partner countries, namely Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, to advance the knowledge agenda on environmental and ecosystem accounting. It will initiate pilot testing of SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EEA) with a view to improve the management of natural biotic resources, ecosystems and their services at the national level and mainstream biodiversity and ecosystems in (sub)national level policy-planning and implementation.
The project will review policy demands, data availability and measurement practices in order to advance and mainstream natural capital accounting and will initiate pilot ecosystem accounts in each of the five strategic partner countries.
It is expected that the following work streams be carried out during the implementation of the project:
- Development of a national plan and selection of ecosystem accounts, in physical and monetary terms, based on national priorities, in each of the partner countries
- Development of guidelines and methodology that contribute to the national implementation of the project and the global research agenda in the context of SEEA EEA
- Development of a set of indicators in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, Aichi Tragets and other international initiatives
- Contributions to the alignment between SEEA and corporate sustainability reporting
- Increased awareness of natural capital accounting
- Enhanced capacity building and knowledge sharing as a way to enlarge the community of practitioners on natural capital accounting
One of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Brazil joins Mexico in the Latin American region as a strategic partner in the project. The national statistics office in Brazil (IBGE) has made important advances in land cover and use studies, among others, that support environmental accounting.
In response to the environmental concerns that this vast country has experienced during its rapid economic expansion, the National Bureau of Statistics of China adopted the SEEA as its framework for measuring the relationship between economy and environment. Building on the SEEA, China joins the project as a strategic partner to advance the agenda to integrate environmental data and policy development.
In order to address the loss of biodiversity and decline of ecosystem services that economic growth often accompanies, India has embraced several environmental initiatives. India is a strategic partner in this project, taking concrete actions to continue to develop environmental and natural capital accounting and valuation.
The biodiversity of Mexico represents the natural capital of the country. Through this project, Mexico advances in promoting a culture of valuing ecosystems in the context of the country's sustainable development. Mexico has produced several environmental-economic accounts (water, fisheries, material flows, environmental protection expenditures, air emissions) and consolidated the experience necessary to advance in environmental-economic accounting and piloting the valuation of ecosystems services.
South Africa has strengthened institutional arrangements in order to systematically develop a series of environmental-economic accounts guided by the SEEA. In recent years, environmental-economic accounts have been developed in four areas: water, minerals, energy and fisheries. Most recently, South Africa, along with Mexico, was one of the seven pilot countries involved in a global initiative to advance environmental and ecosystem accounts.