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India leads the world on natural capital

by Alejandro Litovsky 21 October 2010

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.

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