Quarterly update from the Global Program on Sustainability
Issue #56, December 2021
Welcome to the final GPS newsletter for 2021, bringing you updates on the Program's contribution to Natural Capital Accounting through practice and knowledge development.
We are pleased to share the final WAVES closeout report. Summarizing eight years of results at national and global levels, the report analyzes impact across four dimensions: data and information, tools and capacities, institutions, and decision making. See this issue's special feature on the WAVES legacy to learn more.
Take the time to explore the extensive data visualizations from Changing Wealth of Nations 2021, a comprehensive wealth accounting report spanning 24 years of data from across 146 countries. For further analysis of the report’s key findings, read the feature story on how global wealth is shifting and what this means for today’s development challenges.
Other updates include NCA at COP-26, valuing ecosystem services in Cambodia, a blog about the power of capital markets to conserve and restore global biodiversity, and a feature on GPS’ impact in Zambia.
Finally, we are happy to announce that GPS now has a dedicated email address. If you have any questions or updates you would like included in the next issue, please reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy reading and stay safe!
The GPS Team
Taking a Comprehensive View of Wealth
Explore Global Wealth through Data
Valuing Ecosystem Services in Cambodia
Harnessing Capital Markets for Conservation
Special Feature: WAVES
Fifth NCA Forum
NCA panel at COP26
NCA workshop with the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
Update from the Africa CoP
GPS in Practice: Zambia
News from the Community
Taking a Comprehensive View of Wealth to Meet Today’s Development Challenges
Wealth accounting provides new ways to track sustainability, and for policymakers to look beyond GDP. Although global wealth has never been greater—middle-income countries have seen especially strong gains in the past two decades—it has also never been more at risk.
Explore data from the most comprehensive accounting of global wealth
The Changing Wealth of Nations 2021, the fourth such report produced by the World Bank, provides the most comprehensive and complete wealth accounts to-date. Visit the expansive CWON 2021 Data Explorer webpage to learn more.
Valuing the Ecosystem Services Provided by Forests in Pursat Basin, Cambodia
A recent study funded by the GPS’s Targeted Technical Assistance program quantified the benefits provided by natural ecosystems to irrigation systems and hydroelectric power producers in the Pursat Basin. The study found natural ecosystems in the upper river basin provide benefits worth about US$1.1 million a year to irrigation areas in the lower basin and US$1.6 million a year to HEP producers by increasing the flow of water in the dry season and reducing sedimentation in the reservoirs. The study results were instrumental in prompting the Cambodian Government and World Bank to include Nature-Based Solutions in the proposed Cambodia Water Security Improvement Project
Harnessing the power of capital markets to conserve and restore global biodiversity through ‘Natural Asset Companies’
A new blog explores how a global coalition of the world's largest pension funds, in collaboration with emerging market institutional investors, could pursue "place-based investing for the planet", thus supporting the conservation and restoration of global public goods essential to humanity, the biosphere, and the economy. Together, the world's top 10 public pension funds and top 10 sovereign wealth funds control $15 trillion in assets. If two-thirds of these funds set aside 1% of assets, they would create a pool of $100 billion. This could provide seed equity to fund protected areas in developing countries between now and 2030.
From 2012-2019, Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) was a USD23 million World Bank–led global partnership aimed at mainstreaming natural capital in development decisions by better measuring, valuing, and integrating it into national economic accounts. WAVES supported the development of 32 natural capital accounts—thus contributing to the monitoring of 11 Sustainable Development Goals, establishing 10 country solutions to institutionalize NCA, and informing 52 decisions across different stages of the policy-making cycle (design, implementation, monitoring, reform). WAVES also informed World Bank Group operations and contributed towards results through outputs such as data sets, valuations, advice, and analytics.
When WAVES was first presented in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, NCA was a relatively new concept and countries had limited capacity to understand and implement it. Over eight years, WAVES developed a suite of assets robust enough to overcome the typical structural and political barriers to evidence-based natural capital policy. These assets now constitute a strong basis for integrating natural capital considerations into global and national policies and investments in the coming years.
WAVES demonstrated that it is possible to build natural capital accounts in developing countries and to use them to inform national development plans and policies. Program implementation provided important knowledge on how to integrate sustainability into the development process. These lessons are now incorporated into GPS, which will continue and expand the country-level work started with WAVES. Further details on WAVES, including results, data, and ongoing updates, can be found at: wavespartnership.org
Photo: PKStudio / Shutterstock
Fifth Policy Forum on Natural Capital Accounting for Better Decision Making: Greening the Recovery
September 15–16, 2021
Online event with over 300 participants
Photo: Hedvika Michnova / Shutterstock
In September, GPS co-hosted the Fifth Policy Forum on Natural Capital Accounting for Better Decision Making with the United Nations Statistics Division and the Government of the Netherlands. The Forum asserted that government spending, policies, and economic management must shift from short-term pandemic–related imperatives, towards a green recovery that tackles the breadth of pressing challenges leaving us vulnerable to pandemics and other shocks. Learn more about the Forum outcomes, including the 8 Key Messages and 10 Priority Actions, in the Forum Proceedings, which are now available online along with a feature story from the event.
High-level Natural Capital Accounting panel discussion at COP-26
The Value of Nature to People and Planet
November 5th, 2021
Alfred Okot Okidi, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda, a GPS supported country, joined Mari Pangestu, World Bank Managing Director for Development Policy and Partnerships and Karin Kemper, World Bank Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy Global Practice, for a panel discussion on nature loss as an economic and development issue. The event looked at how nature is linked to climate change, as well as pathways to undertake both nature and climate-smart development in the future, including through expanding our economic toolkit beyond GDP to account for the wealth provided by nature.
Workshop on Natural Capital Accounting for Ministries of Finance
Presentation on NCA and the World Bank
November 18th, 2021
Photo: cdrin / Shutterstock
In November, the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action hosted a workshop on natural capital accounting and the role of Finance Ministers in implementing and using NCA. Raffaello Cervigni (World Bank Lead Environmental Economist and GPS Lead) presented on the World Bank's assistance to countries in implementing NCA and provided an overview of the findings of the report, The Economic Case for Nature, and relevant policy implications.
Completion of training on Measuring and Evaluating Ecosystem Services
Over two sessions in November, the Measuring and Valuing Ecosystem Services course worked with 25 government professionals from six countries (Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia) on how natural capital accounting can be used for policy development and analysis.
"As a senior staff, I provide technical advice on matters related to biodiversity management, including preparation of policy and related legal instruments on biodiversity. Rwanda’s new policy on Environment and Climate Change will tap into evolving theories including nature-based solutions, PES, and NCA. This course provided us with an in-depth understanding of how to pilot and mainstream these initiatives and share knowledge with stakeholders.” Mr Marshall Banamwana, Ministry of Environment, Rwanda.
The next CoP training focuses on how to generate data for policy development and decision making and will target public sector institutions managing ecosystem services, biodiversity, and national statistics.
Zambia's Water Account Technical Working Group with stakeholders at the NCA and data collection workshop in November (World Bank, 2021)
GPS provides NCA advisory services in Zambia to inform on the trade-offs and synergies between economic growth, poverty alleviation, and a healthy, resilient natural environment. The Zambian Government is implementing an extensive rural development agenda, for which the Integrated Economic-Environmental Model (IEEM) and Rapid Environmental-Economic Assessment Tool (REEAT) will be crucial in providing the compressive and reliable data needed to promote sustainable rural development and environmentally sound practices. To develop institutional knowledge and ensure longevity, trainings and modeling exercises are undertaken by a cross-sectoral team drawn from various relevant institutions including the Ministry of Finance, Zambia Statistics Agency, University of Zambia, and the Institute for Policy Analysis and Research. As such, the country’s water, forest, and land accounts are being expanded and updated through 2020 to provide policy direction and support sustainable natural resource management at local and national levels. Latest activities include:
A capacity building and data collection workshop with key stakeholders to support the water account, which includes data on water use for agriculture, industry, and households.
A Forest Account Technical Working Group field trip to collect data across six provinces. New data will update existing forest product accounts (i. timber from indigenous forests; ii. timber from exotic plantations; iii. charcoal; iv. firewood; v. liquid honey and vi. beeswax) and include additional products such as devil’s claw, caterpillars, mushrooms, wild fruits and tubers. It is hoped that this data will provide further knowledge on the interactions between natural assets and economic activities.
Renewed meetings on the development of a tourism account. With data from 2010-2020, this account is a critical part of measuring sustainable tourism growth and potential.
A REEAT workshop with the Modeling Technical Working Group. New to Zambia, the REEAT uses similar inputs as the existing IEEM (which is supported by the forest, water and land accounts) but is designed for rapid, less comprehensive assessments than IEEM. Using knowledge from the workshop, the Working Group has begun simulating policy scenarios to integrate natural resource issues into economic policy and planning.
GPS contributed to a joint assessment conducted by the World Bank and Banco Central that found that 46% of Brazilian banks’ non-financial corporate loan portfolio is concentrated in sectors highly or very highly dependent on one or more ecosystem services.
The fourth World Bank publication on global wealth accounting, this report uses wealth as an indicator to examine long-term growth and sustainability as a complement to traditional indicators like GDP.
GPS Annual Report
The 2020/2021 Annual Report is expected to be released in early 2022, providing an overview of GPS and WAVES trust fund financed activities in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 (from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021).
News from the NCA Community
The following links provide natural capital related news, updates and events from the global community.
They do not necessarily reflect the views of the GPS.