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SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting Overview Alessandra Alfieri United Nations Statistics Division.

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Presentation on theme: "SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting Overview Alessandra Alfieri United Nations Statistics Division."— Presentation transcript:

1 SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting Overview Alessandra Alfieri United Nations Statistics Division

2 Rationale for Experimental Ecosystem Accounting Envisaged as part of SEEA revision process initiated in 2007 under the management of the Committee of Experts on Environmental- Economic Accounting Complements SEEA Central Framework Not intended to be an international statistical standard but initial conceptual framework for accounting for ecosystem assets and associated services from which testing and research can be undertaken

3 Blending underlying concepts Conceptual model is ecosystem accounting formed from established concepts in Ecology Ecological economics National accounts Statistical measurements

4 Why an accounting approach? Accounting is funded on defined relationships between stocks and flows The conceptual relationships and associated measurement boundaries are present in physical and monetary terms Derivation of aggregates is an outcome of defined relationships and use of common measurement units Within measurement boundaries the accounts are comprehensive and internally consistent

5 Stocks = Ecosystem Assets Spatial area Fixed characteristics (e.g., slope, altitude) Variable characteristics (e.g., land cover, biodiversity) Flows Intra-ecosystem (within ecosystem) Inter-ecosystem (between ecosystems) Ecosystem services (to people ) Basic Accounting Model

6 Ecosystem asset (spatial area) Ecosystem processes Economic & other human activity Exchanges of products & social interactions Ecosystem services Inter-ecosystem flows Ecosystem characteristics Intra-ecosystem flows Human impacts

7 Model related to flows of ecosystem services Individual & societal wellbeing Benefits SNA & non-SNA Ecosystem services ECOSYSTEM ASSET Ecosystem characteristicsIntra-ecosystem flowsInter-ecosystem flows Human inputs (e.g. labour, produced assets) Ecosystem processes

8 Ecosystem assets Two perspectives on environmental assetsTwo perspectives on environmental assets Individual environmental assets -Timber resources - Aquatic resources - Mineral & energy res - Soil resources - Land - Water resources Bio-physical environment Ecosystem assets Combinations of biotic communities and their abiotic environment functioning together in a spatial area - excludes mineral & energy resources

9 Ecosystem Asset Measures Expected ecosystem service flows (for a given basket of ecosystem services) Capacity of ecosystem asset to generate ecosystem services Ecosystem condition (quality of ecosystem characteristics relative to reference condition) Ecosystem extent (spatial area/size of ecosystem)

10 Spatial Area Representation Ecosystem Accounting Unit BSU LCEU type B LCEU type C LCEU type A

11 Key Considerations Multi-disciplinary nature Accounting approach benefits Physical and monetary accounting Complements SEEA Central Framework Continued research and testing needed Potential to meet policy demands

12 Multi-disciplinary nature Conceptual model in ecosystem accounting formed from established concepts in Ecology Economics National accounts Statistical measurement Inputs from many disciplines in drafting Cooperation among disciplines necessary in testing and research Important role for National Statistical Offices

13 Accounting Approach Benefits Broad coverage related to defined set of components Comprehensive (not selective) measurement within boundaries Integrated and coherent relationships between stocks and flows Basis for organizing information Potential for aggregation and consistent time series

14 Physical and Monetary Accounting Physical accounting relevant and important in assessment of changes in ecosystems May be sufficient for many purposes Monetary accounting allow the linkages of the physical flows with the monetary flows Valuation remains challenging but it is important to clarify valuation principles of SNA and beyond

15 Complements SEEA Central Framework Compilation of land accounts is a building block for ecosystem accounting Measurement of individual assets inform ecosystem conditions and services Combined presentations Link information on environmental pressures (e.g. flows of natural inputs of water and energy and flows of residuals of air emissions and waste) to environmental impacts Link responses (environmental protection expenditures, taxes and subsidies) to ecosystem changes

16 Continued Research and Testing Needed Conceptually sound framework, providing broad platform for research & testing Aspects requiring further research Ecosystem degradation Valuation approaches for accounting purposes Need for testing across different ecosystems and countries Delineation of spatial units Classifications (spatial areas, ecosystem services) Selection of indicators Accounting tables and aggregation methods

17 Potential to Meet Policy Demands Framework for assessing environmental impact of economic activity Can assist in answering key policy questions (e.g. trade-off analysis) Integrated, multi-disciplinary framework suited to analysis of cross-cutting policy issues Potential basis for monitoring international processes Potential to scale to local, national and global levels

18 Research agenda implementation Testing in countries Formation of expert group Three areas of research Physical ecosystem accounting Monetary ecosystem accounting Communication and dissemination Proposed Next Steps

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