November 18, 2021


Image credit: Dave Hoefler /

On November 18, the Helsinki Principle 4 and 5 workstreams hosted a joint workshop on Natural Capital Accounting (NCA). Serina Ng (Lead for HP5, Her Majesty’s Treasury, UK) opened the event, followed by a presentation from Alessandra Alfieri (Chief, Environmental Economic Accounts Section Economic Statistics Branch, Statistics Division, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) on NCA and the UN SEEA Central Framework and SEEA Ecosystem Accounting.

Raffaello Cervigni (Lead Environmental Economist, Lead of the Global Program on Sustainability Trust Fund, World Bank) then presented on the World Bank’s assistance to countries in implementing NCA and provided an overview of the findings from the World Bank report, The Economic Case for Nature, and relevant policy implications. Alastair Johnson (Senior Economic Adviser, Environment Analysis Unit, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, UK) and Adam Johnson (Economic Adviser in the Green Book and Major Projects Unit, Her Majesty’s Treasury, UK) presented on the UK’s experience with NCA and how the information from these accounts are being used.

Sam Mugume (Ag, Assistant Commissioner, Macro Economic Policy Department, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Uganda) shared Uganda’s experience setting up NCA, how implementing NCA has facilitated cooperation between various parts of government, and challenges that remain in most effectively utilizing NCA data. Finally, Irene Alvarado Quesada (Director of Environmental Statistics Unit at the Central Bank of Costa Rica) provided the central bank perspective on how and why the Costa Rican Central Bank is engaged in implementing and managing the country’s NCA. The presentations were followed by a discussion on how the private sector is using or can use national NCA information and progress of corporations in applying corporate NCA approaches.

NCA is a critical tool Ministries of Finance can use to better understand and manage their natural assets. Natural capital accounts, once in place, can help governments make more informed decisions about development as well as investment in conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of nature. In many countries, these assets are being depleted, leading to an overall decrease in wealth that jeopardizes future growth. In addition to leading to more effective governance of natural assets, providing data on natural assets to the private sector can better inform private investment decision making about how to manage the natural assets that companies depend on or impact through their operations. There is potential for improved data provision on natural assets to mobilize private investment for nature.