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NCAVES India Forum 2021

14/01/2021 - 14:01
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Joint press release by Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation National Statistical Office and European Union Delegation to India

Today experts and senior officials, including H.E. Minister Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation MOSPI; H.E. Mr. Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India; Dr. Kshatrapati Shivaji, Secretary, MoSPI; Mr Bert Kroese, Chair of UN Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting; Ms Gemma Van Halderen, Director, UNESCAP; Ms. Susan Gardner, Director, Ecosystem Division UNEP;  Mr. Stefan Schweinfest, Director, United Nations Statistics Division; and Ms. Karin Erika Kemper, Director, World Bank gathered for the first day of a virtual forum on the Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) Project in India. Three live sessions are to be held for the NCAVES India Forum 2021 – on January 14, 21 and 28, 2021. The first session of the event held today was dedicated to the efforts made by India and international agencies in the domain of natural capital accounting and valuation of the ecosystem services. The session witnessed a remarkable response from all over the globe. The recordings of the live event are available on the web-portal – http://ncavesindiaforum.in.

  1. In 2017, the European Union initiated the project, “Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services” (NCAVES) to help advance the knowledge on environmental-economic accounting, in particular ecosystem accounting, that can help in ensuring sustainable economic growth.  The NCAVES Project is implemented in India, Brazil, China, Mexico and South Africa, by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). The Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation has taken up several initiatives under the NCAVES Project during the past three years. Today’s forum aimed to disseminate those activities e.g. in the areas of decision making and policy analysis, in collaboration with UN Statistics Division (UNSD), European Union and UN Environment.
  1. The event started with Dr. Kshatrapati Shivaji, Secretary, MoSPI stressing the fact that MoSPI, as the focal point for national statistical system, has to play a crucial role in coordinating and harmonizing the data systems in the country and the Ministry is geared up to redefine its roles and responsibilities in line with the national priorities and to strengthen India’s national statistical system to provide timely inputs for policy and stronger dissemination practices for public. He also highlighted that the adoption of the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) is one of the initiatives taken up by the Ministry in line with this vision.
  2. Hon’ble Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation and Ministry of Planning, Rao Inderjit Singh emphasized the Ministry strives for timely generation and dissemination of data, for evidence-based policy-making in sync with changing policy paradigm.
  1. H.E. Mr. Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India, complimented MOSPI on its efforts and stressed the importance of natural capital accounting to build  science-based, data driven policies and in monitoring their implementation: “We are keen to share EU experiences and lessons learned with interested partners, especially in the context of developing a post-2020 biodiversity strategy/framework. Environmental economic accounting can provide an important foundation for a solid monitoring framework, and a benchmark for business, national and global ambitions.” He also stressed that: “We need to mainstream natural capital and biodiversity into policy and implementation. There is a clear sense of urgency in this respect. We need to act now for a green and sustainable future”.
  1. During the session, a report on the activities taken up by MOSPI under the NCAVES Project was released. The report illustrates the range and use of data collected and processed by MoSPI on various environmental goods and services, as released by the Ministry in its publications, EnviStats India. The report also highlights some of the pilot exercises undertaken by the Ministry as part of the NCAVES Project. Bert Kroese, Chair, UN Committee of Experts on Environment Economic Accounting and Gemma Van Halderen, Director, UNESCAP focused on the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA), and underscored the importance of using a conceptual framework that integrates scientific and economic data with traditional accounting principles in order to assess the sustainability of economic growth. There has been a large uptake in SEEA implementation with more than 80 countries, both developed and developing, now compiling the accounts.
  1. The panel discussion, with Stefan Schweinfest, Director, UNSD; Susan Gardner, Director, UNEP; Karin Erika Kemper, Director, World Bank; and Dr. Shailja Sharma, Director General (Statistics) as panelists, was moderated by the Mr. Pravin Srivastava, ex-Chief Statistician of India. The panelists shared their rich experiences and complimented MOSPI for the achievements made under the NCAVES Project. Susan Gardner stressed that “Natural capital accounting can help us to deliver on many global priorities to which UNEP is committed”. Stefan Schweinfest agreed, stating that “The integrated data of the SEEA will enable better monitoring of the SDGs, climate change and the post-2020 biodiversity framework. And India has shown us today that it does not take decades to break down information siloes. SEEA implementation can be achieved in a short period of time, and India is a shining example of this.”
  1. The second day of the event, Hon’ble Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar will address the Forum on the vision for the future of environmental governance in India. Through the forum, the Ministry and EU Delegation hope to stress the importance of valuing the environment in working towards the goal of "better environment, better tomorrow" and look forward to the next two sessions of the NCAVES India Forum 2021, both of which promise an insightful and exciting programme.

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