First Partnership Meeting
The kick-off meeting of the WAVES Partnership was attended by nearly 50 partners from NGOs, UN agencies (UNEP and UNDP), national governments (donor countries and other participating countries), the European Union, academic institutions, and the World Bank.
This remarkable group of people came from very diverse professional backgrounds: economics, natural sciences, national accounting and statistics, policy and government—only the private sector was not represented. Our partners will help us correct that next time! All participants were committed to learning from each other—really listening over the entire three days, rather than talking across and past each other.
Discussion began on the overall approach of the WAVES Partnership. We drew lessons from past successes and failures of green accounting initiatives, used the experiences of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and other groups to identify policy entry points, and explored the boundaries of what we know about ecosystem services, and are able to measure and value with reasonable credibility.
Communications and outreach strategy was featured early in the agenda (Day 1) to ensure that we keep the work focused on our ultimate goal of changing how decisions are made. Barry Gardiner, MP, made an impassioned and inspiring plea not to overlook parliamentarians as key movers and shakers, and to work closely with them in the partnership to make wealth accounting and valuation of ecosystem services relevant for legislators.
Throughout the workshop, the group sought to identify opportunities to build on the work of partner organizations in pilot countries for example:
- Work on watershed services by The Nature Conservancy in Colombia
- Conservation International’s work on forest management for water services and sediment control in Madagascar
- The Poverty-Environment Initiative’s (UNEP-UNDP) effort to measure and communicate the value of natural resources to Ministries of Finance in Botswana and the Philippines
The last day brought together two roundtables, chaired by one of our colleagues from Madagascar, to reflect on discussions of the previous two days as well as their broader experiences. The following points were made:
WAVES policy entry-points in Low-Income Countries
- Focus on ministries of finance and planning; key parliamentarians and investors (public and private); those who have a policy mandate to internalize environment, and/or are most effective at doing this
- Understand exactly how, by whom, and when decisions are made, and what information the decision-makers need to make those decisions—solve problems, don’t sell the method
- Best entry point could be at any stage in the policy cycle of: issue-defining, analyzing, solutions, and monitoring and evaluation
- In countries, draw on statistical and environment data suppliers at technical level and brokers from among the Partnership—e.g., PEI which works with Ministries of Finance and budget depts
- Share policy tactics among WAVES partners, especially those that are engaged in silo-breaking activities
Best bets for what the WAVES Partnership would do in Low-Income Countries
- Physical accounts of natural capital that matter most to growth, poverty reduction in specific sectors like water, forestry, mining, or coastal ecosystems. Valuation of some of these can be done locally, or sectorally, but it may not be possible to include all ecosystem services initially
- Focus attention on one project which WAVES can affect, e.g., REDD.
- Work with what people know, with routine procedures, and other ‘must-dos’, e.g., national budgets, development plans and strategies, public environmental expenditure reviews, GDP and the national accounts—and start rewiring them toward full WA and VES
- While scientific credibility is important, start using data that are available—a ‘good-enough’ platform rather than a ‘golden stage’
- Whatever we focus on, in any country, continue to listen to other policy debates (sometimes in less obvious areas) because we can support and use those arguments and expand our backers beyond the usual ones
This session, chaired by a colleague from our Colombia pilot program, focused very much on how to organize going forward. Key messages from our partners include:
- The Partnership will be most effective if it is open and inclusive, a ‘partnership of equals’
- Build a really good information management platform so everyone knows what's going on as quickly as possible
- Define the WAVES Partnership ‘brand’—by identifying the collective responsibilities of partners, what we do in the name of WAVES, and how this relates to, and differs from, other initiatives such as TEEB, Beyond GDP, The Natural Capital Projects, etc.
- Work toward a nimble, WAVES-approach that can be copied and adapted, not just a large, multi-country WAVES program
Welcome and Introduction - Glenn-Marie Lange, Sr Environmental Economist and Team Leader for WAVES, World Bank, PPT Presentation (pdf)
- Lessons Learned from Country Experiences with Environmental Accounting - Marian Delos Angeles, Sr Environmental Economist, World Bank, PPT Presentation (pdf) and Pushpam Kumar, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), PPT Presentation (pdf)
- The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Follow-Up - Pavan Sukhdev, Green Accounting for Indian States and Study Leader TEEB, PPT Presentation (pdf)
- Communication and Engagement Strategies - Steve Bass, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), PPT Presentation (pdf)
- Comprehensive Wealth Accounts - Kirk Hamilton, Lead Environmental Economist, World Bank, PPT Presentation (pdf)
- System for Environmental Accounting and Economic Accounting - Alessandra Alfieri, United Nations Statistics Division, PPT Presentation (pdf)
- Ecosystem Accounting in National Statistical Offices - Michael Vardon, Australian Bureau of Statistics, PPT Presentation (pdf) and Michael Bordt, Statistics Canada, PPT Presentation (pdf)
- Ecosystem valuation that is spatially sensitive: the UK's National Ecosystem Assessment - Ian Bateman, University of East Anglia, PPT Presentation (pdf)
- Physical Accounts for Ecosystems by the European Environment Agency - Jean-Louis Weber, European Environment Agency, PPT Presentation (pdf)
- Valuing Regulating Services - Pushpam Kumar, United Nations Environment Program, PPT Presentation (pdf)
- When do taxes, fees and markets for ecosystem services provide reasonable measures of value? - Andrew Seidl, World Conservation Union (IUCN), PPT Presentation (pdf) and David Simpson, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PPT Presentation (pdf)
- Models for Ecosystem Services - The InVest Model and the ARIES Model - Emily McKenzie and Taylor Ricketts, World Wildlife Fund, PPT Presentation (pdf) and Ferdinando Villa, Basque Centre for Climate Change, PPT Presentation (pdf)
- Roundtable 1: Challenges to Implement Ecosystem Services Valuation - Paulo Nunes, The Mediterranean Science Commission, PPT Presentation (pdf) and George Bouma, United Nations Development Program, PPT Presentation 1 (pdf), PPT Presentation 2 (pdf)
- Roundtable 2: Policy Applications of Ecosystem Services Valuation - Pavan Sukhdev, PPT Presentation (pdf)
- Reaffirming the Value of Natural Capital (April 20, 2013, SECO Economic Cooperation and Development)
- Call to Action on Recognizing the True Value of Nature (April 18, 2013, World Bank)
- New Video on Valuation of Oceans Released at the WAVES Partnership Meeting (April 11, 2013, UNEP)