28th Meeting of the London Group on Environmental Accounting

The 28th Meeting of the London Group on Environmental Accounting was hosted by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany from 26 to 29 September 2022 in Siegburg, Germany. More than 50 participants from around the world attended the meeting. While the majority of participants joined in-person, some participants joined the meeting virtually to discuss and present their research papers due to travel restrictions.

There were seven sessions during the meeting, which covered a wide variety of topics related to environmental accounting:

  • Ecosystem services in biophysical terms
  • Monetary valuation of ecosystem services
  • Alignment between the SEEA Central Framework (CF)/Ecosystem Accounting (EA) and the System of National Accounts (SNA)
  • Integrating environmental activity accounts and deriving indicators
  • Ocean accounts
  • SEEA physical flows and derived indicators

More than 20 research papers and presentations were discussed during the four days, showing the significant progress and work efforts related to the application of SEEA. The meeting started with an update from UN Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting (UNCEEA) and the Technical Committee on the SEEA EA and a tribute to the late SEEA expert, Michael Bordt. The first two days were mainly dedicated to ecosystem accounting. Topics such as a common concept of ecosystem service supply, demand, use and capacity and accounting for marine ecosystems were explored. Examples of value transfers and the issue of valuation of ecosystem services were also discussed at length. Another important topic was the alignment of SEEA and the SNA as well as the opportunities for SEEA to support the monitoring framework of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The latter half of the meeting focused on the SEEA Central Framework, such as material flow accounts (greenhouse gases, circular economy) and environmental activity accounts, as well as cross-cutting topics such as the need for improved representation of the environment in international classifications.

Participants of the meeting also agreed to some future research topics. For example, they decided to cooperatively produce thematic papers on the potential inclusion of the atmosphere as an asset, the treatment of emission certificates and the derivation of indicators from SEEA. Furthermore, it was agreed to examine whether currently used seasonality adjustments are appropriate for environmental reporting.

Lastly, the meeting introduced Statistics South Africa, as the new host of the London Group. Thus, South Africa will organize and host the meeting in 2023. Furthermore, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and Statistics Estonia were presented as future hosts of the London Group in 2024 (U.S.) and 2025 (Estonia).

All research papers and presentation slides of the meeting can be found on the website of the 28th London Group Meeting: https://seea.un.org/events/london-group-environmental-accounting-28th-meeting.