High-level meeting to move beyond GDP in Asia
On October 8th-10th over 80 statisticians, economists, ecologists and senior policy makers across Asia held a three-day workshop at the United Nations in Bangkok to look at ways of better valuing natural resources. During the meeting, experts discussed steps to establish Systems of Environmental Economic Accounts (SEEA), comprehensive wealth accounting methodologies that go beyond current Systems of National Accounts that have been used since 1950. Pushpam Kumar from the UN Environment, said the time is now right to move beyond just GDP as the measure of an economy.
In Asia, countries such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines have started to incorporate Natural Capital Accounting into their accounting systems and Vietnam, Laos, Bhutan and Bangladesh have developed green growth strategies with similar goals.
The workshop was organised by SANDEE, UN Environment and ESCAP and co-sponsored by WAVES, Poverty Environment Initiative, ADB, UNSD, EEPSEA among others. The SEEA Central Framework builds on the RIO+20 Outcome document on linking natural wealth accounts for more holistic growth measurements to better measure the sustainability of growth. Sir Partha Dasgupta said he hopes one of the outcomes of the workshop will be for national accounts to begin incorporating ranges instead of specific numbers "something they should already be doing anyway". Effectively valuing natural capital requires a new mindset to focus on broader ranges of benefits rather than exact numbers.
For more information on the high level meeting to move beyond GDP in Asia see the Ecosystem Services Economics webpage here.
For a collection of short video clips from the event click here.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation also covered the event in an article on October 9th - Asian Officials look at valuing nature in economic decision making