UN Statistics Division Drafts Ecosystem Accounting Guidelines

united-nations-statistics-division11 September 2013: In an effort to better include environmental costs in economic data and policy, the UN Statistics Division has developed draft Experimental Ecosystem Accounting Guidelines, which outline concepts in ecosystem accounting.

The Guidelines describe key conceptual relationships in ecosystem accounting, units for ecosystem accounting, ecosystem accounting tables, and measurement challenges. They present approaches for valuing a range of ecosystem service flows, such as biodiversity and carbon.

A draft of the guidelines was presented at the International Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference held in Bali, Indonesia, in August 2013.

Ecosystem accounting is based on the premise that gross domestic product (GDP) focuses its measurement on flows (production and consumption) and not on the stocks of capital (including natural capital) that generate flows. The guidelines are being developed through the UN System of Environmental and Economic Accounts (SEEA). [ICRAF Description of Experimental Ecosystem Accounting] [Annual International Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference Website]