Development of Ecosystem Accounts using ARIES for SEEA: Training for Country Practitioners

In order to support the uptake of SEEA Ecosystem Accounts and strengthen the capacity building of countries in the Community of Practice, UNEP, UNSD, UNDP, the Basque Centre for Climate Change, the GDSA Secretariat and the Regional Hub of the UN Global Platform in Rwanda organized a training programme for application of ARIES for SEEA application in selected GDSA member countries (Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda). It was funded by UNEP and hosted by the National Institute for Statistics in Rwanda (NISR)

The ARIES for SEEA Explorer application developed by researchers at the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) in Spain, can generate ecosystem accounts for any user-specified terrestrial area in the world (such as a country, administrative region, watershed, etc.), by using freely available global remote-sensing derived data and models, that can be further improved by using national data sources and models. 

The objective of the training was to build capacity on the conceptual basis for ecosystem accounting, data and modelling requirements, and the use of ARIES for SEEA to develop accounts. An initial webinar was organized for all the Community of Practice members in which the platform, the methods and potential results were explained. After the training, the countries have been working on the compilation of the ecosystem accounts, and they will present their progress and results to the rest of the Community of Practice members during a webinar at the end of November.

Some of the results so far are:

  • Botswana plans to use their local data, with an initial focus on developing forest indicators.
  • Ghana has compiled carbon accounts based on their local landcover maps and emission factors, aligned with national inventory.
  • Kenya plans to produce at least the Extent Accounts (Landcover and Ecosystem Type). Furthermore, there are plans to model crop provisioning and crop pollination accounts based on local inputs, and to improve on the forest condition models as well, by adjusting the ecological parameters to the Kenyan context.
  • The South Africa team is now working on adapting the results of Ecosystem Extent obtained with the global model to the local data. They are also starting to model Grassland Ecosystems Condition accounts. As this work is pioneering, it will take a few months to develop and test the outcomes.
  • Uganda plans to use their local data to compile their Extent (Landcover and Ecosystem Type) accounts based on these inputs.

The meeting documents including presentations are available here: Development of Ecosystem Accounts using ARIES for SEEA: Training for Country Practitioners - The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (