The Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) Partnership has published an update on its activities, including information on country projects and publications from the Philippines and Australia.
November 2015: The Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) Partnership has published an update on its activities, including information on country projects and publications from the Philippines and Australia.
The Philippines’ WAVES team has released the findings of the Laguna Lake Basin and the Southern Palawan experimental ecosystem accounts, which underscore the need to strengthen national and local policies and the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations to protect natural ecosystems, manage scarce natural resources, and promote sustainable development. Findings from the Laguna Lake Basin conclude that: rapid and unplanned urban sprawl are major contributors to the degradation of the lake; household waste accounts for around 81% of lake pollution; and an increasing population along the lakeshore and greater soil erosion have increased flood risks. The results are expected to inform environmental impact assessments and cost-benefit analyses in order to strengthen ecosystem and natural resource management, as well as assist in preventing further degradation through policies aimed at strengthening water resource management, improving water quality, and aligning development plans and planning laws.
In Southern Palawan, the Philippines, competing demands on natural capital, including minerals, biodiversity, rich fishing grounds, and coastal and marine ecosystems, require balancing ecological protection with economic growth. Results from the experimental ecosystem account address: the status of forest cover and its potential as a carbon sink; the importance of the water supply to crop production; coral reef extent and condition; and the expansion of oil palm plantations, although rainfall is insufficient to ensure oil palm production year round. An action plan was developed to include several policy scenarios that would include analyzing tourism and biodiversity, and scaling up ecosystem accounts to include the entire Palawan province.
The final technical report on the experimental ecosystem accounts will be released in December 2015, while another round of stakeholder consultations to discuss policy scenarios is scheduled for first quarter of 2016.
In response to increased interest in natural capital accounting (NCA), WAVES has established a Knowledge Center bringing together resources on the topic. In a blog posted on the World Bank website, four achievements regarding NCA are highlighted: natural capital accounts are being completed and implemented; countries and organizations are sharing their NCA knowledge; work on hard-to-measure ecosystem services is progressing, as many middle-income countries want to go beyond standard methodologies provided for water, minerals and forest accounts; and NCA is being applied in both developing and developed countries alike. The blog also explains that clear and concise numbers for many natural resources enables policymakers to make more informed decisions, including energy accounts to identify the impacts of removing energy subsidies, and using greenhouse gas accounts to offset the effects of a carbon tax.
The WAVES Partnership has also released a number of publications, including a policy brief on ecosystem accounts for Laguna del Bay in the Philippines and the report, ‘Natural Capital Impacts in Agriculture: Supporting better Business Decision-Making,’ which determines the magnitude of economic and natural capital costs associated with commodity production, and presents a framework for measuring net environmental benefits associated with different agricultural management practices. Finally a report, ‘Valuing Victoria’s Parks,’ uses environmental accounting to estimate the contribution of these Australian parks to the economy and local communities, showing for instance, that tourists spend US$1.4 billion per year in Victoria on park visits, adding some 14,000 jobs to the economy.
WAVES is a World Bank-led global partnership that aims to promote sustainable development by ensuring that natural resources are mainstreamed into development planning and national economic accounts. [Philippines Waves Website] [WAVES Partnership Story on Philippines Ecosystem Accounting] [World Bank Blog on NCA] [Policy Briefing on Ecosystem Accounts Informing Policies for Better Resource Management of Laguna de Bay] [Policy Briefing on Ecosystem Accounts Providing Inputs for Decision Making and Policy Analysis in Southern Palawan] [Publication: Natural Capital Impacts in Agriculture: Supporting Better Business Decision Making] [WAVES Partnership Knowledge Center] [Website on Valuing Victoria’s Parks Report] [Publication: Valuing Victoria’s Parks Summary]