Eighth Joint OECD/UNECE Seminar on the Implementation of the SEEA

The 8th Joint OECD/UNECE Seminar on the Implementation of SEEA was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, from 13-15 March 2023. English-Russian interpretation was provided.

Members of the Organising Committee were from the National Statistical Offices of Australia, Canada, Estonia, Finland (chair), Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States in addition to Eurostat, UNEP, UNSD, OECD and UNECE.

The meeting brought together more than 170 experts representing 43 countries, several international organisations, academia, NGOs and the private sector (in person or connected through Webex).

Opening session with Sarah Barahona (Head of the National Accounts Division, OECD Statistics and Data Directorate) and Lidia Bratanova (Director of UNECE Statistical Division)  

Daniel Clarke (OECD), Ekaterina Poleshchuk (UNEP), Michael Nagy (UNECE)

A leading thread throughout the seminar was the question how SEEA supports informing one or more policies related to the triple planetary crisis (climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss).

The substantive sessions discussed:

  • The role of SEEA in measuring the transition towards a circular economy
  • Progress made in implementing SEEA EA
  • Implementation of Forest Accounts
  • Water accounts and related indicators
  • Environmental taxes and subsidies, including harmful subsidies
  • Organisational and institutional arrangements for SEEA Implementation
  • Integration of accounts for analytical purposes

The meeting also benefited from the participation of a high-level representative of the United States, Mr. Jed Kolko, Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs. Mr. Kolko presented the National Strategy to Develop Statistics for Environmental-Economic Decisions, in which the incorporation of internationally-agreed standards guided by SEEA plays a fundamental role.

Another high-level presentation was given by Mr. Dmitry Mariyasin, UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary. He emphasized the importance of official statistics for a smooth transition towards a circular economy in the UNECE region, and he mentioned the work on developing guidelines for measuring Circular Economy, based on the SEEA-Central Framework, as an important milestone in this process.

The meeting also featured a poster session with posters from:

  • Alex Tro Cabrera: Building a geographic information systems based methodology for calculating rooftop solar photovoltaic potential for the formation of energy communities and its energy accounts.
  • Jean-Louis Weber: AfrikENCA
  • Giulia Capotorti, Raffaella Chiocchini, Alessandra Ferrara, Angela Ferruzza, Laura Zavattero: Ecosystem Extent - Accounting Implementation in Italy

Tribute was given to our colleague and friend Rocky Harris, who passed away earlier this year. He played a key role in the development, implementation and use of the SEEA. He was prominent in the writing of 2003 version of the SEEA and later the SEEA Central Framework and Ecosystem Accounting, taking leading roles, chairing technical working groups and drafting text. Rocky will be fondly remembered and dearly missed. He was honored with a moment of silence.

A minute of silence for Rocky Harris

Participants of the seminar agreed to organize another meeting in February or March 2024. UNECE and OECD will soon inform about the exact dates of the next seminar.

All documents of the seminar can be found on the Seminar’s webpage https://unece.org/info/Statistics/events/373223. Also, recordings of the meeting will be made available on that webpage.

Photos: UNECE