Results of the 2021 Global Assessment on SEEA Implementation

Administered since 2014, the Global Assessment of Environmental-Economic Accounting and Supporting Statistics, provides a snapshot of SEEA implementation around the world. According to the 2021 Assessment, and the most recent country submissions,  the number of countries compiling SEEA accounts increased by one, from 2020, to 90. Nearly all countries that implement the SEEA compile the SEEA Central Framework (88 out of 90). Thirty-six countries indicated compiling SEEA Ecosystem Accounting in 2021, a net increase of two countries from 2020.

The 2021 Assessment collected information on current implementation and compilation only and marks the first time the Global Assessment has been run in an abbreviated form. The Assessment had previously been administered in 2014, 2017 and 2020 and collected information on current implementation, future plans, institutional setup, and more. However, in order to collect yearly information for SDG indicator 15.9.1, an abbreviated survey is now administered annually to collect information on current implementation and compilation.

The results of the 2021 Assessment provided information on SDG indicator 15.9.1 and the stage of implementation of countries, with the stages being: Stage I – compilation, Stage II – dissemination, and Stage III – regular compilation and dissemination. According to the results, 70 per cent of countries fall into Stage III of implementation, 17 per cent fall into Stage II and 13 per cent fall into Stage I. While the percentage of countries in Stage III stayed constant, there were positive developments, with countries moving from Stage I to Stage II of implementation. In particular, 2021 saw a net increase in the percentage of countries in Stage II and a corresponding decrease in the percentage of countries in Stage I.

The results point to a need for greater resources and advocacy for SEEA implementation. While the net changes in the stages of implementation were in a positive direction, there were some negative changes in countries (e.g. moving from regular compilation and dissemination to ad-hoc compilation and dissemination). In addition, none of the countries which were planning to undertake SEEA implementation in 2020 were able to do so in 2021. However, the recently adopted Implementation Strategy for the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting and the UNCEEA’s planned capacity building activities on both the SEEA Central Framework and SEEA Ecosystem Accounting are expected to play a large role in advancing SEEA implementation in the upcoming years. In particular, the Implementation Strategy sets an ambitious target of having at least 60 countries implementing the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting by 2025.