Grassroots Vol 20 No 3 | Page 34

NEWS try held its first national Natural Capital Accounting Forum in July 2019. An array of decision-makers discussed how natural capital accounting could support South Africa’s move towards a green economy, one in line with the country’s National Development Plan and the global Sustainable Development Goals. The new study was commissioned by UNEP and produced as part of the South African component of the European Union-funded Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services project. The effort, which also involves Brazil, China, India and Mexico, is jointly implemented with the United Nations Statistics Division. In South Africa, Statistics South Africa and the South African National Biodiversity Institute are leading the project while collaborating with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries and other partners. Jane Turpie of Anchor Environmental, lead author of the report, says the project demonstrates that it is possible for countries to develop accounts for a range of ecosystem services in both physical and monetary terms, consistent with a form of natural capital accounting known as the System of Environmental Economic Accounting Experimental Ecosystem Accounting framework. In follow up work, the results from KwaZulu-Natal will contribute to national and global discussions about the use of accounting approaches for informing complex challenges such as land degradation neutrality by 2030, she added. The project will also serve as an example for conservation efforts in other countries as part of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. “This study serves as a shining example of how measuring what matters could lead to better policymaking,” says Hussain. “As the international community negotiates a post-2020 biodiversity framework, such research could hardly be more timely.” 33 Grassroots Vol 20 No 3 September 2020