21.02.2019

2019 Joint OECD/UNECE Seminar on Implementation of SEEA took place in Geneva

Experts from 33 countries as well as representatives of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), European Commission – Eurostat, European Environment Agency (EEA), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and others attended the meeting. Resources and Consulting was represented by Georgy Fomenko, Doctor of Science in Geography, Professor, and Marina Fomenko, PhD in Geography, Associate Professor.

The aim of the seminars is to provide a platform for exchange of knowledge and experiences on SEEA implementation and to facilitate coordination between all relevant partners in the OECD and UNECE regions.

The following substantive topics were discussed at the meeting:

a) Water Accounting. During the seminar considerable progress made in the implementation of water accounts was mentioned, but some problems remain, among them: availability of sufficient data and known problems with data quality, conflicting data sources, inconsistencies of terms and definitions. In addition, statistical confidentiality may lead to restrictions for use in some countries.

b) Environmentally related taxes and subsidies. The discussion demonstrated that it is relatively easy to find data and expertise to establish environmentally related tax accounts in countries. These accounts increase the transparency of environment-related transactions and provide a good starting point for green growth policies and decarbonisation plans. Eurostat, OECD and other national and international organizations have the extensive experience in environmentally related taxes and subsidies accounts.

c) SEEA experimental Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EEA). Ecosystem accounting is relatively new within the realm of SEEA. There are still many technical, methodological, practical and data issues to be researched and developed. From a practical perspective the presentations and discussion showed that compiling accounts is mostly done as a pilot or pioneering work.

Based on the conclusions of the sessions and the seminar, the following decision and recommendations for future work were agreed:

  • to explore the use of satellite images for SEEA in general and for water asset accounts and SEEA-EEA in particular;
  • to continue to harmonise terms and definitions used in international water questionnaires, SEEA, Aquastat and important indicator frameworks such as the SDG indicators;
  • to contribute to better understanding of the combined incentives generated by fees, taxes and subsidies;
  • to continue with their efforts to produce pilots of SEEA Ecosystem Accounts and share their experience.