Policy Applications

The SEEA organizes environmental and economic data in an integrated and conceptually coherent manner to produce actionable information for policymaking. Since the SEEA does not propose any single indicator or basket of indicators, it provides countries with flexibility in employing the framework for their policy needs.

The SEEA is directly relevant to several key international initiatives, including Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Aichi Targets and post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and climate change and the Paris Agreement. In particular:

  • SDGs and Agenda 2030: The SEEA supports 40 indicators for nine Sustainable Development Goals .
  • Biodiversity: Seventy-one of the current Aichi Target indicators are fully or partially aligned with the SEEA, and the importance of the SEEA and natural capital accounting is explicitly recognized in Aichi Target 2 on the mainstreaming of biodiversity values into policy processes and reporting.    
  • Climate change: The SEEA provides critical information on the drivers and impacts of climate change and complements information from UNFCCC emissions inventories.

As more and more countries look to apply the SEEA for policy, there is a growing demand to better understand how the SEEA and natural capital accounting can be used for better decision making. The annual Forum on Natural Capital Accounting for Better Policy Decisions, which brings together policymakers and representatives from around the globe to share experiences and insights, was developed to meet this need.

There are also several projects underway on the policy applications of the SEEA, including the development of a series of issue papers on the use of the SEEA and natural capital accounting for policy, e-Learning on policy applications of the SEEA and a collection of case studies on the SEEA and policy. These materials will be posted to the website as they become available.

At a technical level, the SEEA Applications and Extensions manual helps compilers and users of SEEA accounts understand how the accounts can be used in decision making, policy review and formulation, analysis and research.