Environmental Accounting in the LAC region

This week Dr. Lykke E. Andersen participated in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Regional Workshop on Environmental Accounting for Policy Analysis, which took place in Bogotá, Colombia on the 16th and 17th of March 2016.

Participants from 15 different LAC countries met to present advances and to create a Regional Cooperation Program to promote the implementation and use of Environmental Accounting to promote sustainable development.

There is a surprisingly wide variety of experiences with Environmental Accounting in Latin America. Mexico and Colombia are the most advanced countries in this respect since their National Statistical Offices regularly elaborate the most relevant Environmental Accounts (water, forests, energy, emissions, etc) using the internationally agreed SEEA methodology. Guatemala and Ecuador are also very advanced in the implementation of their Environmental Accounts, although their institutional arrangements are somewhat different. The Accounts in Guatemala were initially developed by the academic sector, but later made official by the Central Bank and the National Statistical Office. Colombia, Guatemala and Ecuador all receive support from the World Bank led WAVES program (Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services), while Mexico has relied on self-financing. Most of the other countries are just starting to think about implementing Environmental Accounting officially.



Dr. Andersen presented the Bolivian case, which is very atypical, as the elaboration of Environmental Accounts and Natural Capital Accounts is very advanced, but entirely driven by the academic sector with minimal public or international support. This is of course not ideal, as this ought to be the job of the National Statistical Institute with technical support from the UN who developed the SEEA methodology.

The participants discussed and agreed on the creation of a Regional Cooperation Program to promote the implementation and use of Environmental Accounts in all the countries through a network that facilitates country exchange/mentoring activities, training and professional development, among other activities.


Environmental Accounting publications from INESAD:


  • Jemio, Luis Carlos & Lykke E. Andersen (2013)“Insights from Bolivia’s Green National Accounts” Latin American Journal of Economic Development19: 125-136.



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