Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services

Founding Year: 2010

Staff: 5


Sofia Ahlroth, Raffaello Cervigni (Program Co-Coordinator)

WAVES is a global partnership launched in Nagoya, Japan, aiming to promote “genuine green growth and long-term advances in wealth and human well-being.” It is a global coalition of UN agencies, governments, international institutes, NGOs, and academics aims to promote sustainable development by ensuring that natural resources are mainstreamed in development planning and national economic accounts. It is led by the World Bank, which also hosts the secretariat.  “By working with banks and ministries of planning and finance to integrate natural resources into development planning through Natural Resources Accounting, we hope to enable more informed decision-making that can ensure genuine green growth and long-term advances in wealth and human well-being.” Implementing countries: Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Madagascar, Philippines, and Rwanda. The Policy and Technical Experts Committee (PTEC) consists of experts in environmental accounting, economists, natural scientists, and policy experts from the World Bank, UNEP and other UN agencies, academic institutions and governments.


  • Natural Capital Accounting – They view GDP as insufficient to account for the wealth of a nation. Resource exploitation is seen as a depletion of national wealth not as creating it. The major limitation of GDP is the lacking representation of natural capital. The full contribution of natural capital like forests, wetlands, and agricultural is ignored. They state that natural capital accounting (NCA) is needed to sustain growth. Long‐term development is a process of accumulation and sound management of a portfolio of assets – manufactured capital, natural capital, and human and social capital.
  • Wealth Accounting – Wealth is what underpins the income that a country generates. It includes produced capital (buildings, the machinery used in factories, infrastructure like highways and ports, etc.), natural capital (including land, forests, fish, minerals and energy), human capital, and net foreign assets. Wealth accounting is a methodology for measuring these assets. Changes in wealth are an indicator to assess if a country is growing its income without depleting its stocks.



Note: Last updates in the news section are from May 2018. No annual partnership meeting happened in 2018 (or at least it’s not noted online). Their budget has halved within the last year and the downwards trend started already the year before. Their ideas are really important but they seem to be stagnating in their progress. (FH)

Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals

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