Nearly 100 participants attended the 5th Annual WAVES Partnership Meeting, including representatives from partner countries, UN agencies, international organizations and NGOs.

Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) is a World Bank-led global partnership that aims to promote sustainable development by ensuring that natural resources are mainstreamed in development planning and national economic accounts. WAVES is now part of the broader World Bank umbrella initiative, the Global Program for Sustainability (GPS).

This global partnership brings together a broad coalition of UN agencies, governments, international institutes, nongovernmental organizations and academics to implement Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) where there are internationally agreed standards, and develop approaches for other ecosystem service accounts.
By working with central banks and ministries of planning and finance across the world to integrate natural resources into development planning through NCA, we hope to enable more informed decision making that can ensure genuine green growth and long-term advances in wealth and human well-being.

Our Objectives

  • Help countries adopt and implement accounts that are relevant for policies and compile a body of experience
  • Develop approaches to ecosystem accounting methodology
  • Establish a global platform for training and knowledge sharing
  • Build international consensus around natural capital accounting

Funding and Governance

WAVES is funded by the European Commission, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom and overseen by a steering committee. Its work on developing a methodology for ecosystem accounting is guided by a Policy and Technical Experts Committee comprising leading experts in environmental economics, natural sciences, and national accounting.

The story so far

WAVES was launched at the 2010 Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya, Japan. 
Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, Madagascar, and the Philippines were the initial core implementing countries that embarked on programs for natural capital accounting endorsed at the highest level of their governments, with extensive technical support from WAVES. These countries established national steering committees, carried out stakeholder consultations, identified policy priorities and designed work plans that are now being implemented. 
Guatemala, Indonesia and Rwanda joined WAVES as core implementing countries in late 2013. 
The countries’ work plans include compiling accounts for natural resources like forests, water, and minerals, following the SEEA Central Framework, as well as experimental accounts for ecosystems like watersheds and mangroves.
WAVES established a Policy and Technical Experts Committee to help develop and test methodologies for ecosystem accounting—working closely with partners from UN agencies, national government agencies, academic institutions and NGOs.
Since Rio+20, more than 65 countries have supported a communiqué that calls on governments, the UN system, international financial institutions and other international organizations to strengthen the implementation of natural capital accounting. 
On the side of the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings later in April 2013, more than 35 ministers, vice-ministers and senior officials of finance, development and environment came together for a High-level Ministerial Dialogue on NCA. They were part of a larger group of more than 60 countries, the ‘first-movers’ of NCA, who were sharing technical know-how and the set-up of institutions needed to move the agenda forward.

Next Steps

Since the launch, WAVES has built up the partnership, established roles and responsibilities and tested the feasibility of natural capital accounting in the five initial core-implementing countries. Each of these countries is now in the implementation phase of their work plans. Over the next four years, the initiative will help countries put their plans into practice and support a range of activities towards key objectives.
WAVES plans to increase the number of Core Implementing Countries over the next 18-24 months.  
The WAVES Policy and Technical Experts Committee have identified three test sites to pilot methodologies for ecosystem accounting, the results of which will feed into the work to develop the UN's handbook on ecosystem accounting.