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Finance Ministers Build Momentum on Natural Capital Accounting

ifc_wb_ifm18 April 2013: Over 35 ministers, vice-ministers and senior officials of finance, development and environment met for a High-level Ministerial Dialogue on Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) on 18 April 2013, in Washington, DC, US, on the eve of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings. As part of a larger group called the "first movers" of NCA, they discussed new methods for valuing nature, reaching beyond traditional gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of economic progress.

Outcomes from the dialogue include agreement that NCA be included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as in the post-2015 development agenda. To help mainstream NCA into political and economic decision-making, participants proposed fostering a cross-ministerial approach to ensure full government support, the promotion of public-private partnerships and improvement of data sharing through more regular annual and regional meetings.

The dialogue also stressed the key role of the private sector and highlighted the launch of a Natural Capital program under the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is supporting improved measurement, reporting and management of natural capital in business strategies. Proof of the growing demand to include NCA as an economic tool was given in examples such as: Kenya's effort to include the valuation of forests in GDP accounting; the compilation of water accounts in Australia and Botswana to better plan for growth; and annual energy accounting to plan for growth and cut carbon emissions in Canada, the Netherlands and Norway.

The World Bank also supports work on NCA through the Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) partnership. [World Bank Press Release] [Waves Partnership]