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Policy Dialogue on Environmental Accounting, Paris

27 November 2015 | Paris

With the completion of the first year of GDN's program “Natural Resource Management and Natural Wealth Accounting”, GDN organized a policy dialogue at the Agence Française de Développement in Paris, to faciliate discussions with policy makers on natural capital accounting.

“Natural Resource Management - Natural Wealth Accounting“ is a capacity building program launched by GDN in 2014 to help ecologically fragile countries—Madagascar, Mauritius and Morocco—to understand the interactions between natural resources and socio-economic activities. The program aims to bridge the gap between local knowledge and high quality data in the field of natural capital accounting in order to bring policy-relevant evidence to the forefront of debate and practice.

Chaired by GDN President, Pierre Jacquet, the policy dialogue aimed to bridge the gap between researchers studying natural resource management and policy-makers influencing national environmental and economic policies. Members of the panel included Sofia Ahlroth, Senior Environmental Economist, The World Bank; Abdelhak Allalat, Directeur de la Comptabilité Nationale, Maroc; Osman Mahomed, Député, République de Maurice; Harison Randriarimanana, Conseiller spécial auprès du Président de la République de Madagascar; and Laura Recuero Virto, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères et du Développement International.

Discussions addressed the following questions:

  • What is the current assessment of national accounting initiatives within each country?
  • What are the major obstacles faced in implementing natural accounts?
  • As a policy maker and development actor, how does each panelist use national accounts and what are his or her expectations?

The discussions emphasized the necessity of a multidisciplinary approach, especially through the collection of biophysical data and applied analysis. Participants highlighted the potential of natural capital accounting to present new insights on the relationship between society and environment, between different economic sectors and geographical contexts. Accounts can therefore be used as a powerful communication tool to generate local debate around socioeconomic and environmental policies, participants noted.

However, discussions underlined the challenges of building accounts, particularly in the context of developing countries, which often lack the resources and capacity. Therefore, participants emphasized the critical need for support for research in developing countries, to provide local researchers with adequate tools and resources to examine natural capital and the services it provides on a country level.

Representatives of Madagascar, Mauritius and Morocco expressed their interest in pursuing the program further and involving researchers from their respective countries to carry out the mission.

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