UN to include nature when measuring economic prosperity and human well-being

Mar 22, 2021


The United Nations has officially adopted the SEEA-EA system (System of Environmental Economic Accounting-Ecosystem Accounting) as the new global standard of economic reporting.

SEEA-EA  includes contributions of nature when measuring economic prosperity and human well-being. It's formal adoption by the UN marks a major step in going beyond the commonly used statistic of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to ensure that natural capital is recognised in economic reporting, and considered when it comes to policy and planning decisions.

This short video explains the importance of this historic development in more detail

GDP shows us the value of goods and services exchanged in markets, but does not reflect the dependency of the economy on nature, nor the impacts it has on nature. For example, a forest of trees has a basic timber value, but this is far outweighted by its many benefits, including biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water filtration, recreational activity, tourism, wellbeing, educational value and other more hard-to-quantify, intrinsic values such as beauty and wonder.

SEEA-AE was developed by IDEEA Group's Carl Obst and pioneered in Australia by Mark Eigenraam, both of whom are part of a pilot project INCASE (Irish Natural Capital for Sustainable Environments), run by Natural Capital Ireland