India leads the world on natural capital

Expectations today were high in Japan, as India is set to become the first country in the world to commit to publishing a new set of national accounts which track the nation’s plants, animalswater and other “natural wealth”, as well as financial measurements such as GDP, reports Juliette Jowit of the Guardian:

The announcement is due to be made at a meeting of world governments in Japan to try to halt global destruction of biodiversity, and it is hoped that such a move by a major developing economy will prompt other countries to join the initiative. Work on agreeing common measures, such as the value of ecosystems and their “services” for humans – from relaxation to clean air and fertile soils – will be co-ordinated by the World Bank, which hopes it can sign up 10-12 nations and publish the results by 2015 at the latest.

The move fulfils one of the key demands of a major report also being published today at the Japan meeting, a UN study of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).

The prospects for a binding agreement to protect biodiversity emerging from the Summit in Japan were grim, echoing the failure of the multi-lateral system to deal with governance of our commons — think Copenhagen’s COP15. So India’s bold move comes as fresh and exciting news – to a large extent driven by the leadership and entrepreneurship of Pavan Sukhdev, a Deutsche Bank economist who is the leader and engine behind the TEEB report.

Follow some of our work in this area through our work on the Biosphere Economy.

Filed under: Global Views, Opinion