Resource corner SEEA News and Notes. Issue 20

In this issue you will find resources on salt marshes ecosystem accounts in Canada, measuring urban greenness for Canadian population centers, measuring the sustainability of tourism, UK GHG emissions, UK Natural capital accounts 2022,  IMF Quarterly Air Emissions accounts, DESA's policy brief on NCA and much more.

UNWTO published “Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism – Lessons from Pilots”

An important means of advancing the development of the Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism is through pilots carried out in countries. This publication draws on 12 case studies from around the world.  In each case, they show how tourism’s impacts are being measured on the ground, both at the national level and at specific regions and destinations. These pilots provide concrete data for use by destination managers and policymakers. They also contribute to the development of the Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism, which aims to become the leading global statistical standard for the sector.

The publication can be found here.

Experiences from pilot studies in measuring the sustainability of tourism – A synopsis for policy makers (UNWTO)

This publication presents the work conducted by some of the countries which carried out pilots to advance the implementation of the Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism with a focus on the results obtained and the policy implications of the studies. These initiatives respond to specific relevant questions from the policy perspective. In many cases, they were developed through collaboration between the tourism statistics and policy communities. They are excellent examples of cooperation within a country and highlight what can be achieved in relation to measuring the sustainability of tourism.

IMF published SEEA Based Quarterly Air Emissions Accounts

The indicators examine annual and seasonally adjusted quarterly greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) resulting from economic activity are presented for the World and Regions.

Link to the publication:

Methods note: Producing OECD Quarterly Air Emissions Accounts (OECD)

OECD estimates track emissions of CO2 and other GHGs that are released into the atmosphere. They are compiled for the Air Emissions Accounts (AEAs) of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA). OECD uses the SEEA approach because it is consistent with international standards for compiling the national accounts, which makes it easier to monitor the impact of the economy on the environment.

Find the air emissions accounts and more on the OECD environmental-economic accounting page here

Accounting for the environment: Better data for a better future (OECD podcast)

The OECD compiles and produces data to understand and monitor the environment in a way that is coherent with economic accounting. But what does this mean exactly? Why is it important to measure our environment and our environmental impacts? What is the data telling us? And how can these indicators help policymakers? This OECD Podcast aims to address these questions and more in conversation with one of our own economic-environmental accounting experts.

Census of Environment: Urban greenness, 2022 (Statistics Canada)

The publication presents two measures of urban greenness for Canadian populations centers for 2000 – 2022. These measures provide information on the condition of urban ecosystems. Both measures were computed from the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), derived from satellite imagery from the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer. The average greenness is the percentage of the land area that was classed as green and corresponds to areas with NDVI of 0.5 or more. The average NDVI is the average of all pixel NDVI values for the area, excluding water.  This data release follows the SEEA – Ecosystem Accounting framework to produce a measure of the condition and health of an ecosystem.

Census of Environment: Protected and conserved ocean and coastal ecosystems, 2020 (Statistics Canada)

The publication presents data on the extent of ocean and coastal ecosystems in Canada and the percentage of that extent that is protected and conserved for 2015-2021. Additional information on type of management and protection of each area is also provided.

Valuing the Salt Marsh Ecosystem: Developing Ecosystem Accounts (Statistics Canada)

The publication provides a foundation for developing salt marsh ecosystem accounts. The paper identifies data sets to use and proposes methodologies and indicators to produce a salt marsh ecosystem account. 

Find the technical paper here and infographic here.

Using environmental accounts to understand and compare energy statistics, UK and international: November 2022 (ONS)

The publication examines international progress in compiling environmental accounts, greenhouse gas emissions and intensity, renewable energy production and proportion of renewable sources.

Natural capital accounts roadmap: 2022 (ONS)

The project to develop the natural capital accounts in the UK started in 2012 by the ONS and DEFRA. This publication assesses achievements since the publication of the natural capital roadmap, outlines various challenges, and sets out priorities for the next phase.  Read more on the work achieved to date on the natural capital accounts developed in line with the SEEA in the UK here.

UK natural capital accounts: 2022 (ONS)

ONS released the estimates of the financial and societal value of natural resources to people in the United Kingdom.

Health benefits from recreation, natural capital, UK: 2022 (ONS)

Further development of the UK recreation natural capital ecosystem service accounts, including specific methods used to estimate the health benefits gained from nature-based recreational activities.

Saltmarsh flood mitigation in England and Wales, natural capital: 2022 (ONS)

Estimates the impact saltmarsh has on reducing flood risk in coastal areas in England and Wales.

Greenhouse gas emissions and other environment measures, UK and European countries: 2020

UK greenhouse gas emissions and other environment measures compared with other key European nations for the year of 2020.

Linking accounts for ecosystem services and benefits to the economy through bridging (LISBETH). Part II, How to use ecosystem services accounting to provide the financial sector with a more robust, systematic and consistent environmental metric (European Commission, Joint Research Center)

This report addresses how to group ecosystem services to fit (i) the need for monetary estimates of ecosystem services to support, justify and monitor the biodiversity financial gap; (ii) the need to map ecosystem service vulnerabilities that expose economic sectors to risk; (iii) the need to rank ecosystem service values according to a principle of richness that goes beyond gross domestic product. The sources of data and information used in each of the chapters for the applications are the outcomes of the integrated project for natural capital accounting. The report provides concrete examples about organising and structuring information to establish linkages from ecosystems to economic units.

The Integrated system for Natural Capital Accounting (INCA) in Europe: twelve lessons learned from empirical ecosystem service accounting

Ecologically Intermediate and Economically Final: The Role of the Ecosystem Services Framework in Measuring Sustainability in Agri-Food Systems (LaNotte)

This paper reports on the possible accounting approaches that can be used to assess crop provision, as well as their meanings and implications from an ecological to an economic perspective. The results demonstrate that an economic accounting-based assessment of ecosystem services needs to move from an ecological holistic view to a one-by-one disaggregation of ecosystem services in order to avoid underestimates that would ultimately affect the policy perception of the role of ecosystems with respect to the agri-food systems’ resilience.

Ecosystem condition underpins the generation of ecosystem services: an accounting perspective

The paper starts with a theoretical background meant to set the basic concepts underlying the transition from condition to services. Next, the accounting framework for condition accounts is briefly presented: the specific ecosystem services case studies concern flood control and crop pollination. In the discussion, a simple proposal is drafted to facilitate a possible procedure for those practitioners interested in having condition and ES accounts operationally linked.

The Integrated system for Natural Capital Accounting (INCA) in Europe: twelve lessons learned from empirical ecosystem service accounting

This article draws on the lessons learned from the project Integrated system for Natural Capital Accounting (INCA) which was developed and supported by the European Commission to test and implement the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting. 

More can be found in the dedicated website for the INCA reports at  the INCA platform at

Topical collection on Monetary valuation for ecosystem accounting

This Topical Collection in One Ecosystem offers practitioners a venue to disseminate papers (i) exemplifying the purpose and principles of monetary valuation for ecosystem accounting, (ii) disseminating practical applications of monetary ecosystem accounts, and (iii) addressing the SEEA EA research agenda.

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 144: Moving beyond GDP and achieving Our Common Agenda on Natural Capital Accounting

On 15 December 2022, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the United Nations published as part of its policy brief series an article highlighting the SEEA.