Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services – India


What's been accomplished

The activities and related outputs of the project NCAVES in India include:

Compilation of a range of ecosystem accounts and studies at the national level

India’s first official environmental economic accounts (released in 2018) containing asset accounts in physical terms of four natural resources – forest, land, minerals and water. The accounts revealed a nuanced picture of the state of India’s natural capital, with several regions showing a net-positive increases in assets like forest cover and carbon stock.

The second annual SEEA report entitled EnviStats India 2019 Vol. II Environment Accounts envisages to add condition layers  to the physical accounts based on the quality characteristics, namely,  soil nutrient index and water quality accounts in respect of surface, ground and sea water. In addition, to help understand the contribution of ecosystem services to the economy, values of two ecosystem services have been compiled for all the States of the country – cropland ecosystem services and nature-based tourism.

The third annual SEEA report published by NSO India in the issue EnviStats India 2020 is structured in six thematic chapters featuring land, croplands, forests, wetland, as well as cross-cutting chapters on biodiversity and SEEA based indicators.

The fourth annual SEEA report published by NSO India in the issue "EnviStats India 2021 (vol II): Environment Accounts" covers crop provisioning services, water quality accounts, soil nutrient indices and species richness of IUCN Red list.

The final NCAVES India project report provides an overview of the work undertaken in India to compile ecosystem accounts under the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting framework.  The report includes the compilation of experimental ecosystem extent, condition and ecosystem services accounts as well as biodiversity thematic accounts and a section of indicators derived from the accounts

Pilot ecosystem accounts at sub-national level

In the State of Karnataka, a suite of ecosystem accounts has been developed led by the Indian Institute of Science:

The state of Karnataka was identified in a landscape assessment due to a good data availability, strong technical capacity within local research institutes, and policy interest in using an accounting approach. These accounts will be applied in subsequent scenario analysis, assessing conservation and afforestation policies.

Indicator testing

India has contributed to the testing of indicators that are derived through the accounts. India is currently also chairing the Taskforce on Indicators established under the SEEA EEA revision process.

SEEA Strategy

Building on the landscape assessment and a subsequent policy assessment, and a  public consultation, the Indian Strategy for Environmental Economic Accounts 2022-2026 has been developed and released.

Economic Valuation Tool

An Economic Valuation Tool (EVL) that scrutinizes and summarizes the results of existing valuation studies by ecosystem type, ecosystem service, and by valuation method has being developed. The tool will be useful for environmental impact assessments as well as for environmental accounting.

Project background

India has been compiling environmental statistics since 1997 when the Central Statistics Office (CSO) released the first issue of the Compendium of Environment Statistics, based on the United Nations Framework for Development of Environment Statistics 1984. Since its inception in 1997, 16 issues of the publication have been released, presenting data relating to the environment of the country.

Work on environmental economic accounting began in 2011, when a high level Expert Group under the Chairmanship of Prof. Sir Partha Dasgupta, U.K. was constituted by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) with the mandate of developing a framework for green national accounts of India and preparing a roadmap to implement the framework. The resulting report, “Green National Accounts in India-A Framework”, laid out a roadmap with short-term, medium-term and long-term activities for implementing the Green Accounting Framework.

Accounting for Nature for Decision Making in India

NCAVES Implementation in India

The Social Statistics Division (SSD) of the National Statistical Office of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) of India is the nodal agency for implementation of the European Union- funded project Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) in India. The role of MoSPI is to coordinate with all the stakeholders through a consultative process.

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