Expert Meeting Addresses the SEEA’s Role in the SDGs and Global Biodiversity Agenda

In February, over 40 experts in natural capital accounting convened for workshop in Cambridge, England to discuss ways in which the SEEA can support the post-2020 biodiversity agenda and the meeting of SDG targets The meeting was jointly organized by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), as part of the Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) project, funded by the European Union.

The specific goals for the workshop were:

To discuss how the SEEA-relevant indicators can support the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.

  • To build consensus around a set of priority SEEA relevant indicators for SDG targets and Post-2020 Agenda for testing in the case study countries of the SEEA-EEA.
  • To develop a methodological approach for calculating priority SEEA-relevant indicators using SEEA modules relevant to ecosystems.
  • To explore and identify potential forward-looking indicators based on SEEA to support the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework

The workshop took up approaches outlined in the working document Assessing the linkages between global indicator initiatives, SEEA Modules and the SDG Targets and initiated the development of methodological sheets on SEEA indicators related to land degradation, freshwater ecosystems, urban ecosystems and protected areas. Methodological sheets provide definitions and other metric specifications of an indicator to ensure standardisation of approaches.

Over the course of the three-day workshop attendees engaged in a series of plenary presentations, break-out activities and many constructive discussions on how to move forward with developing indicators. Participants heard from five NCAVES countries (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) on their experiences to date and from representatives from governments and multilateral institutions and information needs and existing international databases/datasets that can serve as the foundation for indicators.

Looking forward, several opportunities were identified for continuing engagement with the post-2020 biodiversity process and SDGs, including:

  • Piloting of in the selected indicator methods in the NCAVES project countries
  • Engagement with the SDG process, including at the March 2019 IAEG-SDG meeting in Beirut.
  • Continued formal submissions of comments to the CBD by the UNCEEA/UNSD on how the SEEA can support post-2020 biodiversity monitoring.

The full agenda, background documents including the report setting out the assessment of the linkages between global indicator initiatives, SEEA modules and the SDG Targets, presentations and other materials are available here.