NCAVES India Forum 2021: NSO India takes the lead in making nature's value visible
The culmination of the work undertaken in India for the compilation of pilot ecosystem accounts following the System of Environmental Economic Accounting Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA) framework, as part of the project Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES), was revealed during the NCAVES India Forum 2021. The Forum was organized by the National Statistical Office (NSO India) of the Ministry of Statistics and Project Implementation (MoSPI), Government of India, in collaboration with the UN Statistics Division (UNSD) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
The Forum, held over the course of three days, with live sessions, on 14, 21 and 28 January 2021, provided an impressive and interactive virtual stage to demonstrate the benefits of natural capital accounting and the collaborative efforts needed for the successful implementation and future use of the SEEA with a view to integrate sustainability and the conservation of the environment while charting the course of economic development in India.
About 1000 participants from several domains, including government, research institutions, international and national organizations (including 35 countries other than India), participated during the live sessions of the forum and explored the virtual space that served as a repository for 150 resources on environmental-related information, including data series and research publications.
Amidst rich deliberations and discussions led by eminent personalities from all over the globe, the final report of the NCAVES Project in India was released during the first session of the Forum. The report highlights the initiatives taken by NSO India under the NCAVES Project, including the compilation of pilot ecosystem accounts, biodiversity thematic accounts and SEEA-derived indicators.
The Minister of State (Independent Charge) of MoSPI, Rao Inderjit Singh emphasized that the Ministry strives for timely generation and dissemination of data for evidence-based policy-making and that the adoption of the latest frameworks in place for environment statistics and environment accounts is part of its continuous endeavour to be in sync with changing policy paradigm.
As a reflection on this achievement, the director of the Statistics Division of the United Nations, Stefan Schweinfest said:
“India has shown us today that it does not take decades to break down information siloes. SEEA implementation can be achieved in a short period of time, and India is a shining example of this,”
The second day session focused on the policy demand in India for natural capital accounting both in the public and private sector to improve decision-making and reporting. Shailja Sharma, Director General (Statistics) of NSO India remarked that through natural capital accounting “NSO, India ensures that policies are data driven and not data blind.”
The concluding session of the NCAVES India Forum discussed the achievements and prospects of natural capital accounting in India. During this last session, the India Environmental Valuation Look Up Tool (EVL Tool) was presented as the foundational tool for the future research on valuation of ecosystem services. The EVL tool is an Excel-based, searchable, comprehensive database of environmental values unique to India that provides a snapshot of the values of the ecosystem services. Based on the search criteria provided, EVL searches the database and presents the relevant value estimates.
It was also announced that NSO India, in collaboration with stakeholders, is developing a Strategy of Environmental Economic Accounts that will be released later this year
The NCAVES project was implemented in India, under the leadership of MoSPI, with the collaboration of UNSD, UNEP and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), with funding of the European Union.
To learn more about the NCAVES project visit this website: https://seea.un.org/content/natural-capital-accounting-and-valuation-ecosystem-services-india
The final NCAVES project report and the EVL tool can be found on the dedicated NCAVES project page under MoSPI website- https://www.mospi.gov.in/natural-capital-accounting-and-valuation-of-ecosystem-services-ncaves-
Read a related article here: https://www.un.org/en/new-statistical-framework-helps-india-consider-nature%E2%80%99s-contributions
Press release MoSPI https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetailm.aspx?PRID=1688608
Watch the video on SEEA implementation in India here.