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Development Account Projects

Supporting Member States in developing and strengthening environment statistics and integrated environmental-economic accounting for improved monitoring of sustainable development


Monitoring and measurement of progress towards environmental sustainability is weak, owing to insufficient production of environment statistics and environmental-economic accounts. In 2012, the Statistical Commission adopted the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA), and in 2013 it endorsed the revised Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES). The implementation of SEEA and FDES will help countries to address the increasing demand for integrated information in support of integrated policies in the follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and the post-2015 development agenda.

The project is aimed at addressing the technical and institutional barriers to the establishment of routinely produced environment statistics and environmental-economic accounts at the national level. The project is composed of two complementary modules, developed in a harmonized manner. The first module will be focused on strengthening the regular and sustained production of national environment statistics. This will be done by supporting five countries at early stages in the development of environment statistics in one or two selected developing regions/subregions. This module (environment statistics using FDES) will work with countries that show strong institutional commitment in embarking on an environment statistics programme to develop a multipurpose set of environment statistics to be used for, inter alia, environmental reporting and assessment, environmental indicators and environmental-economic accounts. The beneficiaries of the project at the national level will be practitioners working in governmental agencies engaged in the production of environmental data and environmental statistics and indicators, as well as users of environment statistics, including the national statistical office, the environmental ministry or equivalent institution and the sectoral authorities responsible for, inter alia, energy, water, protected areas, coastal and marine resources, forests and agriculture.

The second module (environmental-economic accounts using SEEA) will be focused on building capacity and infrastructure for the compilation of environmental-economic accounts, based on an international statistical standard, integrating environment and economic statistics and linking it to policy demand. It will support four countries in four regions capable of leading subregional implementation. Implementation will focus on selected modules based on priorities of participating countries. Beneficiaries of the project at the national level will be compilers of environmental-economic accounts within national statistical offices and other line ministries, as well as users of environmental-economic accounts who are responsible for formulating integrated policies. These include ministries of finance, national planning, environment, economic development, agriculture and energy or equivalent institutions. In addition, practitioners working in international, regional and subregional organizations, non-governmental organizations, research institutes and universities, the private sector and the public at large will benefit from the project.

Being familiar with the state and the expressed needs of the regions, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs will determine and prioritize activities through dialogue with the regional commissions, other regional or subregional institutions and participating countries. Through the partnerships with these institutions, technical assistance and training can be tailored to a particular country or group of countries to ensure maximum matching to their needs. Participating countries will be selected on the basis of the criteria of needs, requests and national political support.


To strengthen the national capacities of developing countries for the sustained, regular production of a priority set of environmental statistics, environmental-economic accounts and the resulting indicators, in order to measure progress towards sustainable development

Expected accomplishments:

  • Participating countries have increased technical capacities to regularly produce a comprehensive set of environment statistics, based on FDES, according to their own policy demands and commitments
  • Strengthened institutional and technical capacity of national statistical offices to develop national and regional strategies for SEEA implementation in response to policy needs for more comprehensive and accurate statistical information on the interactions of the environment and the economy

Implementation status:

In progress.