Measuring and valuing what matters: UN Secretary-General urges Member States to implement the SEEA EA

Prior to the opening of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, on 10 September 2021, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released the “Our Common Agenda” report. The report looks ahead to the next 25 years and represents the Secretary-General’s vision on the future of global cooperation and multilateralism. The report further serves as an action agenda to drive forward progress on Agenda 2030.

A green, sustainable COVID-19 recovery and the twin biodiversity and climate change crises feature prominently in the report. Our Common Agenda contains 12 areas of commitment, including “Protect our planet”, with proposals to “account for the environment in economic models”, fully support the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and commit to the 1.5-degree Celsius goal, among others. Importantly, the report urges the global community to go beyond GDP, building on the work of the Statistical Commission. This includes agreeing on “pathways for national and global accounting systems to include additional measurements, and to establish systems for regular reporting as part of official statistics.”  

On this note, the Secretary-General explicitly calls on Member States and others “to already begin implementation of the recent System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) Ecosystem Accounting.” (pg. 31 of the PDF).

The report also makes a proposal for a Summit of the Future in 2023 to forge a new global consensus on what our future should look like.

The full report can be found here: