Biodiversity is an essential part of Uganda’s ‘natural capital stock’, allowing the delivery of the ecosystem services that support economic activity and the wellbeing of its people.
However, traditional assessments of economic progress and development planning can often neglect the value of biodiversity. Decision makers then aren’t able to take biodiversity fully into account, encouraging inefficient and unsustainable growth, as well as ultimately requiring new infrastructure to replace the benefits that nature used to provide. This loss of benefits can disproportionately impact the rural poor since much of their real income is dependent upon ecosystem services.
Both Uganda’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) (Section 2), National Development Plan (section 1.2.11) and Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy (UGGDS) recognise these challenges. Collectively, these plans recognise the need to manage natural capital to deliver economic development and poverty alleviation. The plans also identify natural capital accounting as a strategic intervention towards improved management.
This Darwin Initiative-funded project, led by UNEP-WCMC, will allow decision makers to consider both the environment and the economy in their plans, ultimately supporting green growth, alleviating poverty and accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the Aichi Targets.
The project will achieve this in a number of ways:
The project is purposefully aligned with regional and global initiatives on natural capital accounting, including the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainable in Africa , the UN Environment/UN Statistical Division project on Natural Capital Accounting, and the World Bank Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services programme. This further increases the potential impact of the project and provides opportunities for shared learning and support.
Since 2015, UNEP-WCMC has worked on a number of projects to facilitate the integration of biodiversity into natural capital accounting processes:
UNEP-WCMC has also been working with Uganda’s National Environment Management Authority and National Planning Authority since 2016, first to assess the feasibility of accounting for biodiversity and then working together, along with the IDEEA Group, to produce the world’s first set of Species Accounts.
Donor: Darwin Initiative
Image: Dmitry Pichugin stock.adobe.com