The Delegation of the European Union and Chinese authorities launched a new project called Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Beijing on November 1. The EU and China's economic prosperity are underpinned by their natural capital - their biodiversity. Both bodies have ecosystems that provide essential goods and services, from fertile soil and multifunctional forests and good quality fresh water and clean air to pollination and climate regulation and protection against natural disasters.
This new three-year action will deepen bilateral collaboration on environmental policies. Its main objective is to mainstream natural capital accounting and the valuation of ecosystem services in data-driven decision- and policy-making at the national, regional and local level. It covers activities in five strategic EU countries: Brazil, India, China, South Africa and Mexico, and the main counterpart in China is the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) under the authority of the State Council.
The project is funded by the EU Partnership Instrument and implemented with the assistance of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), UN Environment and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The launch featured high-level speakers from the NBS, the UN and the EU and was followed by a stakeholder consultation meeting on November 1 and 2, which reached out to national and local authorities, the corporate sector and other relevant stakeholders to identify how natural capital accounting could support sustainable development policy initiatives in China.
A Regional Training Workshop on the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (EEA) will also take place in Beijing from November 6 to 8. The workshop will enhance national capacities in implementing ecosystem accounting around four themes. One is the explanation of the SEEA EEA ecosystem accounting framework. Another is the application of the methodology for integrated policy-making. The third is providing concepts and approaches for the valuation of ecosystem services used for ecosystem accounting, and the final concept discusses thematic accounts for carbon and biodiversity.
Senior technical representation is expected from the national statistic divisions in various countries, including Brazil, Mexico, India and Vietnam.
The EU is currently supporting a number of projects on Natural Capital Accounting, both in the EU and internationally. All the activities provide input and testing opportunities for the development of the standard experimental SEEA to guide the further development of the experimental international standard.
This article was contributed by the Delegation of the European Union to China.