The Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) Partnership has released a series of briefs explaining natural capital accounting (NCA) for forest, land and water resources.
The briefs relay how the accounts are produced, their potential benefits and provide examples from WAVES Partnership countries.
The Partnership also supported a workshop to help African countries that are parties to the Gaborone Declaration establish NCA priorities and accounts.
June 2016: The Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) Partnership has released a series of briefs explaining natural capital accounting (NCA) for forest, land and water resources. The briefs review how the accounts are produced, summarize their potential benefits and provide examples from WAVES Partnership countries. In addition, the Partnership recently supported a workshop to help African countries that are parties to the Gaborone Declaration to establish NCA priorities and accounts.
The brief on ‘Natural Capital Accounting: Forests’ explains that, “forest accounts provide a more complete way to measure the forest assets and flows of forest-related services in a country, and how they change through time.” They are, according to the publication, a framework for collating data on forest assets and activities, using UN-approved methodologies; are linked to the System of National Accounts and traditional economic performance indicators, such as gross domestic product (GDP), so they can be used beyond just the forestry sector; and represent a recording framework, to understand forest stocks and flows or changes. The brief also notes that forest accounts can produce information that can support monitoring for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 (Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss), especially the Goal’s target on forests, as well as SDG 7 on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
The brief on ‘Natural Capital Accounting: Land,’ notes that accounts “use consistent concepts and a variety of data sources and methods to present information on land cover and land use,” with a view to enabling countries to improve both their decision making as well as achieve development priorities. The publication highlights that land accounts map the physical location of economic activities and environmental processes; provide the necessary information for resource management, such as how much forest, desert and cropland exists; and enable the exploration of issues such as ownership and wealth, urbanization, and intensity of crop and animal production. The brief outlines the benefits of using land accounts, such as the ability to better understand land use change, urbanization and wealth trends as well as manage fishing rights in coastal areas and off-shore mining. It concludes with a case study on the set-up of land accounts in the Philippines.
The brief on ‘Natural Capital Accounting: Water’ highlights that water accounts provide information on three issues on an annual basis. They include: physical flows of water between and in an economy; stocks of and changes to water assets; and economic activity and transactions related to water resources. According to the brief, water accounts link the physical amount of water used by each sector with the value the sector contributes to the economy, which can help with policies related to water allocation between households, manufacturing, services and agriculture. Account information can also help design pricing strategies and determine where investments in water infrastructure can generate the largest economic impact. The publication also provides a case study of water accounts in Guatemala.
The WAVES Partnership has also supported NCA in Botswana, Madagascar and Rwanda, and from 21-23 June, in Nairobi, Kenya, the Partnership convened a workshop with African countries that are members to the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA). The workshop aimed to help set NCA priorities for the continent and discussed: incorporating the value of nature into public and private policies and practices; supporting sustainable production and improving data, knowledge and capacity related to sustainability; and forming a regional community of practice for NCA across the region. Workshop participants will write a final statement to participating governments to encourage measuring and evaluating the services nature provides to each country.
WAVES aims to promote sustainable development by ensuring that natural resources are mainstreamed into development planning and national economic accounts, and works with countries to measure and value natural resources and promote more evidence-based decisions on natural-resource use. [WAVES Webpage for NCA Publications] [Brief on Forests] [Brief on Land] [Brief on Water] [Workshop to Set NCA Priorities for Africa] [Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa]