Natural Capital Accounting: Better Decisions for
A Partnership Lunch Event co-Sponsored by Botswana, France,
World Bank and UN-DESA
3 May, 2012, 1:15pm-2:45pm
Room 3 at the UN (North Lawn Building), New York, USA
L-R: Ms. Paula Caballero, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia; Sec.Mary Ann Sering, Vice Chair of the Climate Change Commission, the Philippines; Amb. Charles Ntwaagae, Permanent Representative of Botswana to the UN; Amb. Jean-Pierre Thébault, French Ambassador for the Environment; Ms. Rachel Kyte, World Bank; Amb. Jarmo Viinanen, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN; Mr. Bas Rüter, Rabobank Netherlands.
This event discussed the use of natural capital accounting to support better decision making for inclusive development.With the recent adoption of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA), there is now wide acceptance of the need to put natural capital accounting into action. As a result, there is renewed momentum from Governments who want to show the contribution of natural capital to national income.
The Natural Capital Accounting approach can also contribute to measuring progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) once established. Botswana and France, as co-sponsors to this event and in partnership with the World Bank and UN-DESA, organized the side event to dialogue on these issues.
Ambassador Charles Ntwaagae, Permanent Representative of Botswana to the UN, said that natural capital accounting is a concept that greatly assists in managing economies through aiding decision-making, resource allocation and development planning.
Rachel Kyte, Vice President of Sustainable Development Network in the World Bank, noted that GDP does not translate to economic develop so many countries are trying to find a new measurement of wealth that includes accounting for social and natural capital. She stressed that the measurement is complementary to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and like other forms of capital, it requires investments and should address poverty alleviation. She provided an overview of the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) partnership, which is a voluntary partnership to implement natural capital accounting based on the System forEnvironmental and Economic Accounts (SEAA).
On early lessons of implementation of WAVES, Paula Caballero, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia, reflecting on the linkages between natural capital accounting and SDGs, highlighted the importance of data and information so that the costs of action and inaction can be assessed.She also mentioned that there are trade offs that need to be seen in an integrated perspective, which needs data to translate the cost, action, and put in place the right responses to justify difficult decision that have to be made.
Sec. Mary Ann Sering, Vice Chair of the Climate Change Commission, the Philippines, mentioned that resource valuation and environmental and natural resource accounting (ENRA) have been strongly pushed in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP). Sec. Sering underscored the need for natural resource accounting through a compendium of initiatives that should be applied to a sub regional basis. “We are not capturing what we are earning from the environment.” ENRA provides the information needed to prevent perverse policy and to prioritize public finance and investment on the environment and the poor.She additionally noted that progress in natural resource accounting will occur once there is more clarity on what a green economy looks like, which will provide policy makers to have a balance approach on social, economic, and environmental decision-making.
Tsalano Kedikilwe, Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Botswana, outlined a study undertaken to quantify the value of the Okavango Delta. She noted that the results were used in a management plan for the area.