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One of the most useful things about natural capital accounting is that it helps us measure the changes that countries and communities are making to address climate change.

The concepts, definitions and accounts described in the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) are a big part of this.

The SEEA is the international standard for measuring the health and benefits of nature. Using this consistent measurement framework, we can track progress over time.

Since the SEEA Central Framework was adopted in 2012, it has been applied in 92 countries, including most OECD countries. However, there is still work to be done by national statistics producers to increase the use of SEEA statistics.

A recent paper from the OECD focuses on the use of SEEA stocks and flows accounts in public policy.  It provides examples of where SEEA accounts are used to support policy making in high-priority areas such as:

  • climate change
  • environmental sustainability
  • the circular economy
  • management of ecosystems and freshwater
  • feeding into indicators, dashboards and other decision-making frameworks.

The paper explains that these examples show that SEEA statistics are already informing public policy making in many countries, while at the same time acknowledging there are still important ‘influence gaps.’ The paper discusses why these gaps exist and what can be done about them.

You can read the paper here.

Clarke, D., S. Sakata and S. Barahona (2023), “Public policy uses of the SEEA stocks and flows accounts”, OECD Statistics Working Papers, No. 2023/02, OECD Publishing, Paris,