A conceptual framework based on accounting principles of stocks, flows, and investment can be applied to natural capital, social and cultural capital, human capital and financial and physical capitals. Development and application of this framework can help to reveal the environmental, social and economic impacts and interactions of prevailing land use (or other management) practices, and provide a way of assessing the effectiveness of different programmes for achieving desired management objectives.
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In the Netherlands, a coalition of multinational and large Dutch companies is taking steps to make their impact on natural and social capital visible throughout their entire value chain, with the help of civil society organizations. This unique initiative of companies, NGOs and the government teaming-up. Their ambition is formalized in a "Green Deal" signed by IUCN-NL, True Price, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Netherlands and the Dutch government. The Green Deal is linked to the global Natural Capital Protocol.
The systematic accounting of a country’s natural wealth and the goods and services the ecosystem offer, provides opportunities to generate information and better understand the natural environment’s contribution to the economy. This on the other hand offer support policies and decision in the pursuit of sustainable development taking into account environmental economic and socio-political dimensions.
Whilst the Earth’s diversity of species and habitats must be preserved first and foremost for their intrinsic value, the solution (from a socio-economic perspective) lies in recognizing and valuing nature for the ecological services it provides – upon which societies and economies are built. Nature, or “Natural Capital” – biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services – must be preserved and restored as the foundation of human societies and economies.
Historically, Mexico’s natural resources have benefited all the population by bringing essential goods in the form of food, construction materials and traditional medicine among others. But in recent decades, a growing economic activity based on heavy extraction of such resources and a lack of coordination among public policies have caused an increased pressure over the country’s biodiversity.
The ‘solution’ addressed the issue of unsustainable extraction of park’s bio-resources by the local communities resulting in adverse park-people relations. Rather than preventing users to rely on bio-resources for their incomes, the ‘solution’ created alternative livelihood strategies and options that centered on the sustainable use practices and in doing so created a meaningful stake of local communities in managing the Park.
The aim of this initiative is to raise financing to address climate change impact on coastal and marine biodiversity, and at the same time build the resilience of these ecosystems by reducing the anthropological pressures on them. The project will involve the creation of a large marine protected area covering approximately 30% of Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Through the elaboration of a Marine Spatial Plan (MSP), 50% of the protected area will be a no-take zone. The MSP is currently going through a stakeholder consultative process.
UNDP and the Government of Seychelles are implementing an ambitious conservation programme in Seychelles, funded primarily by the GEF with help from other partners. Two projects of a very specific nature stand out. A new UNDP-GEF protected area finance project aims to improve the financial sustainability and strategic cohesion of Seychelles’ protected area system, while also dealing with emerging threats and risks to biodiversity in a shifting national economic environment.
Biodiversity offsets offer a promising option for promoting the conservation and sustainable management of natural ecosystems on an expanded scale. In an era of often flat--and sometimes declining--governmental support for conservation in general and protected areas in particular, biodiversity offsets can provide an underutilized opportunity to mobilize substantial new funding. This funding can come from public infrastructure accounts (such as for dams and roads) as well as from the private sector (including extractive industries).
By organising and presenting existing biophysical, social and economic data, and applying acknowledged economic valuation methods in an accounting framework, we offer a tool to policy makers that incorporates values of select ecosystem assets and services that is consistent with official macroeconomic indicators and statistics. In producing a structured and familiar accounting based product, we envisage greater uptake and consideration of environmental data in the policy decision making process.