From a baseline in 2010 when Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) was mostly limited to high-income countries, the World Bank’s work though WAVES and now GPS has demonstrated that it is possible to develop accounts in middle-income and data-poor countries and use these accounts to inform national development plans and policies.
WAVES engagement with Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, Madagascar, and the Philippines, the initial core implementing countries, ended in June 2016. These countries embarked on natural capital accounting programs endorsed at the highest level of their governments, have institutionalized accounts, are acting as mentors to other countries in the region, and are showing the way on using accounts for monitoring SDGs or their national plans.
Guatemala, Indonesia and Rwanda joined WAVES as core implementing countries in late 2013. These countries have made important strides toward developing NCA and using them for decision making. For example, Rwanda’s land accounts are informing its national land management system, allowing policy makers to study trends in land use and changes over time. In Indonesia, WAVES provided the data and modeling techniques for the Low Carbon Development Initiative for Indonesia (LCDI) - a new platform for Indonesia’s development that aims to maintain economic growth through low emissions development activities, while minimizing exploitation of natural resources. LCDI is a key input to the country’s medium-term development plan (RPJMN).
Among the more senior WAVES countries, Botswana has produced its fourth edition of the water accounts and has been called upon to present the use of its water accounts to the UN Commission identifying monitoring mechanisms for SDGs. With several accounts in place, Costa Rica’s new national plan has a strategic goal on environment sustainability with the expectation that accounts will help monitor the progress.
NCA is being used in the monitoring of national plans or SDGs in many countries. The Rwanda GPS/ WAVES team was asked to contribute to the National Strategy for Transformation. In Indonesia, the information from the accounts, especially land, water, and ecosystems will feed into the system dynamics model being used by the Planning Ministry (BAPPENAS) to calculate the carrying capacity of natural systems to balance economic, social, and environmental goals.
In 2017-2018, work started in Zambia, Uganda, Nepal, and Kyrgyzstan. These new countries are making steady progress. For example, Uganda is focusing on forests and wetland asset accounts, and on the development of experimental ecosystem services accounts.
The GPS/ WAVES program also provides project-level support to four countries in East Asia (Myanmar, Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Vietnam). This work focuses on ecosystem accounts (including forests, water, wildlife) and related valuation (Lao PDR and Cambodia), and on coastal ecosystem accounts and scenario analysis (Myanmar and Vietnam).
In March 2019, six new countries joined the program. Egypt and Morocco joined as core implementing countries. The work program for Egypt will focus on development of air emission accounts, waste accounts, and coastal ecosystems accounts. In Morocco, the priority will be on forests, coastal and marine ecosystem services, climate change, and cultural services/nature tourism. GPS/WAVES will give project-level support to Nepal, Madagascar, and the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA). In addition, GPS/WAVES is providing technical assistance on NCA to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as part of a reimbursable advisory services support to the General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection (GAMEP) under the Technical Cooperation Program.