Steps underway to develop natural capital accounting plan


In a bid to better integrate ecosystems and biodiversity into national accounting and inclusive economic development planning, the country is embarking on a project to build a national plan for natural capital accounting.

The capacity for natural capital accounting for sustainable development in Ghana project is being led by Ghana Statistical Services (GSS) in a multi-stakeholder process to support livelihoods and poverty alleviation interventions.

The project will develop a set of ‘demonstration accounts’ on a theme linked to biodiversity and poverty alleviation. At least three stakeholder and capacity-building workshops will be organised to build capacity for improved decision-making with better outcomes for people and biodiversity. The first workshop, held on 12-13 January 2023, assessed what stakeholders need biodiversity-related NCA to deliver; while the second was to consult the draft national plan.

By providing a clear, consistent and comprehensive way of organising data on biodiversity-related natural capital, the project aims to monitor progress toward Ghana’s Medium-Term National Development Policy Framework (2022-2025) and other policy targets. This includes contributing to the goals of Ghana’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, including Action Plan 2 on mainstreaming biodiversity and Action Plan 7 on sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry.

At the global scale, the project will principally support Ghana’s international commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity (080) (Target 14 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)) and the SDGs (SDG Target 15.9), both of which aim to fully integrate biodiversity values into policies, national planning and poverty reduction strategies.

“In Ghana, data show that most people survive in the environment,” said Edward Asuo Afram, Director of Economic Statistics at GSS. “The project’s essence is to measure how many natural resources we have as a country, especially in terms of the environment, forest reserves, water-bodies and the resources therein. So, we would want to assess first of all what is available and how much of these resources are being used, and the remaining stocks of the country’s natural resources. Once we are able to know these details, we should be able to know whether the use of our natural capital is sustainable.”

Natural capital accounts signify a set of objective data on the stocks of natural resources, including environmental assets, and the flows of benefits they provide. They aim to provide detailed integrated statistics on how natural resources contribute to the economy, and how the economy affects natural resources.

The project is being funded by the UK Darwin Initiative and is anticipated to be completed in March 2024. Speaking on the initiative, Mr. Asuo Afram said: “After this project,the government will have enough practical data to make the right policy decisions”. The Darwin Initiative funds projects around the world to promote sustainable development and deliver improved outcomes for biodiversity, while supporting poverty reduction.

The integration of natural capital accounting into Ghana’s national accounting system is expected to provide decision-makers with the necessary information to make informed decisions about use and management of the country’s natural resources, and promoting sustainable development.

The project aims to build capacity for producing, championing and using natural capital accounts to better integrate biodiversity into Ghana’s sectoral policymaking and development planning linked to poverty alleviation and biodiversity. It is designed to complement the programmes of work currently being implemented with support from the World Bank UN Statistics Division and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to develop a holistic set of NCA.

Ghana Statistical Services, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) successfully secured joint funding to implement the project.

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