In a recent policy dialogue held in Kolkata, representatives of four countries of the eastern Himalayas and the neighbourhood have stressed on the need to include the value of natural capital in national accounts.
The dialogue, titled ‘Natural Capital for Inclusive Growth: Options and Tools for South
Asia’, brought together more than 40 senior policy practitioners, ecologists, economists, and statisticians from Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, and states in north east India. Participants also included forestry officers, statistical officers, economic planning officials, and representatives of influential NGOs.
The event was jointly organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). The key lesson was that it was important to value and account for the contribution of ecosystems and ecosystem services, such as water, forests, and biodiversity, to a country’s overall
capital, as well as the support they provide to human well-being and sustainable development. Incorporating natural capital into the national accounts system will create scope for a broader and more inclusive approach, as it would take into account the resource base of the poor, a group often left behind under current economic growth models.
The experts called for greater efforts to make policies that take into account the full value of ecosystem services. This message of the policy dialogue was: “We now need to think beyond GDP, as traditional indicators are limited to measuring social progress, and fail to account for well-being and sustainability”.
ICIMOD Director of Programme Operations Eklabya Sharma said that mountains are endowed with a rich natural capital base, but also have a large bulk of the region’s poor
population. “We need to take landscape level and river basin approaches while trying to improve the sustainable management of natural capital in the mountains, and to account for their impacts in the downstream areas,” he said. (EOIC)
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>