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Executive Summary

The aim of the GLOBE Natural Capital Action Plan is to define a clear and targeted set of actions for legislators to ensure the true value of ecosystem services and natural capital is integrated into policy making.

 Following the publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) report, we understand better than ever before that our ecosystems are deteriorating and that this is having a significant material impact on our economies and societies. It is also clear that there are a number of interventions that the international community, governments and parliamentarians could have made to arrest this decline, but have chosen not to, partly due to the fact that natural capital is not included in policy making processes.

Therefore, global biodiversity loss continues at an ever-increasing rate and many critical ecosystem services continue to be degraded. This paper, building upon the knowledge of the MA and TEEB studies, sets out a set of practical actions for legislators, governments and auditors.

It is essential that Finance Ministers and Treasuries understand the scientific evidence and the political potential of the natural capital approach. The GLOBE International Secretariat has therefore produced this paper to support the formation of a GLOBE leadership group of legislators that can begin to advance the steps outlined in the paper to engage with these critical
constituencies. The action plan includes the following recommendations:

  • Incorporate the valuation of natural capital into the framework of government accounts,
  • Instruct all government departments to prepare inventories of the natural capital and ecosystems that fall within their ambit or are affected by their policy decisions,
  • Create a ministerial position within the Finance Ministry to work with the department of environment in assessing the value of natural capital in departmental inventories and regulating the use of the country’s natural wealth,
  • Ensure that the national Finance Ministry develops a set of Natural Capital Accounts that is accompanied by an annual report that outlines the status of biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural capital, as appropriate,
  • Encourage national audit offices to adopt the natural capital approach when examining the effectiveness and efficiency by which government departments use their resources and apply cost benefit analyses.

By agreeing to this Natural Capital Action Plan, we are asking legislators to lead a coordinated response to reshaping existing policy and national accounting frameworks to accurately reflect the relationship between the economy and the environment. This document outlines a set of clear practical political actions that will set the world on a path to a more sustainable future.