Environmental accounting in action: case studies from southern Africa

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E. Elgar, 2003 - Business & Economics - 223 pages
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'The authors show convincingly how new indicators of total national wealth, genuine savings, and environmental costs and benefits are more accurate at keeping the score of economic performance. More importantly, they also provide essential information for the prudent management of natural resources. The case studies show that the maintenance and equitable distribution of all forms of wealth, whether produced, financial or natural, are a prerequisite for attaining sustainability of economic growth and development. This difficult task can be tackled, even by financial-resource-poor developing countries, and should be tackled, particularly by natural-resource-rich developing countries. Sceptical environmentalists, as well as equally sceptical economists and national accountants, should include the new statistical and analytical tools in their arsenals. The book will guide them with painstakingly documented accounts of the three African countries. As a result, these and other developing nations might be able to turn the" resource curse" into a "blessing" of sustainable development.' - Peter Bartelmus, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Germany Environmental accounts bring together economic and environmental information in a common framework to measure the contribution of the environment to the economy and the impact of the economy on the environment. They enable governments to set priorities, monitor economic policies more precisely, enact more effective environmental regulations and resource management strategies, and design more efficient market instruments for environmental policies. Many industrialized countries compile environmental accounts, but progress in developing countries has been limited - even though the need for environmental accounts is perhaps more acute in these regions. Environmental Accounting in Action studies the experiences of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, the core countries of a unique, regional environmental accounting programme in Southern Africa. Covering minerals, forestry, fisheries and water, each chapter provides important lessons about sustainable resource management. As a whole, the case studies demonstrate how to overcome the many challenges of constructing environmental accounts and the mechanics of successful implementation. By providing a transparent system of information about the relationship between human activities and the environment, the accounts have improved policy dialogue among different stakeholders and have played a significant role in environmental policy design. This book advances a powerful argument for the use of environmental accounts and is a major contribution to the environmental literature on developing countries. Environmental and ecological economists, resource managers, policymakers, NGOs and anyone concerned with sustainable development will find this an informative and valuable read.

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