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Biodiversity: Revolutionary change in economic relations to better take into account the contribution of nature to the economy

Biodiversity: Revolutionary change in economic relations to better take into account the contribution of nature to the economy

A new statistical framework to better take into account biodiversity and ecosystems in national economic planning and political decision-making, approved last week at the United Nations (UN), allows countries around the world to use a common set of rules and methods for monitoring changes in ecosystems and their services.

The European Commission has supported the United Nations in developing this framework, with contributions from scientists, statisticians and policymakers. The new framework goes beyond commonly used gross domestic product (GDP) data and ensures that natural capital – the contributions of forests, oceans and other ecosystems – is added to existing economic accounts.

Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans said: “To tackle climate crises and biodiversity, we need to transform our business model. This new statistical framework goes beyond GDP and takes better account of biodiversity and ecosystems in national economic planning.”

Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius added: “This is a major development in changing the way we think about prosperity and well-being. Although nature makes a substantial contribution to our economy, it is largely invisible in our economic statistics. We need to transform our view and appreciation of nature and make its contribution to our lives part of the economic equation. For this, we must use rigorous methods to control investments, impacts and dependencies in relation to nature. The new framework is an important step in this direction, as it could fundamentally reorient economic and political planning towards sustainable development.”

The Commission will propose the revision of the regulation on European environmental economic accounts (CEEE) in order to extend its coverage to include a new module on natural capital accounting, fully compatible with the United Nations framework.

The Green Deal for Europe calls for the management and integration of climate and environmental risks into the financial system, while the European biodiversity strategy for 2030 underlines the need to better integrate relative considerations. biodiversity in the decision-making process of public authorities and companies at all levels.

The Knowledge Innovation Project on Integrated Natural Capital Accounting, a project of the Commission and the European Environment Agency, produced EU statistics and trends on the extent of different ecosystems, their condition and ecosystem services, which are compliant with the new framework for natural capital accounting.

Next steps

The Commission is going to propose the revision of the Regulation on European Environmental Economic Accounts (EEEA) to expand its coverage to include a new module on natural capital accounting, fully consistent with the UN framework. This is in line with the recommendation of the European Court of Auditors and the recent mid-term review of European Strategy for environmental accounts (ESEA) 2019-2023. The EU could then become the global front-runner as being the first continent in the world reporting on changes in ecosystems and their services.

Source – European Commission

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