Challenges of Implementing the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting in Russia

Andrey Tatarinov, Georgy Fomenko, Marina Fomenko
Published: Voprosy statistiki. 2018. № 25(3). 68-78.

   The paper is based on the results of the Joint OECD/UNECE Seminar on Implementation of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) which was held in Geneva on February 21-22, 2018. The authors - the seminar participants, presented brief overview of the seminar agenda, its goals and objectives, and outlined the contents of their presentations on the current condition and prospects of introducing the SEEA into the Russian Federation official statistics.
   The paper highlights the significance of the document adopted in 2012 by the UN Statistical Commission - «System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012. Central Framework». It is recognised as an international statistical standard and is applied in many countries of the world to describe the interaction between the economy and the environment, and the stocks and changes in stocks of environmental assets. It is noted that publication in 2017 of the revised official Russian translation of the SEEA Central Framework was especially significant, for its terminology is harmonised with the notions of the national legislation and coordinated with all the main institutions engaged in environmental issues.
   Considering an important role of natural resources in the Russian economy the authors identify the following priority areas of the SEEA implementation in our country: development of environmental assets accounts and resource productivity measurement. This paper characterises principal phases of a research and development programme on monetary evaluation of environmental assets and resource rent calculation method to be used in valuation of fossil mineral and energy resources on the basis of statistical survey that was launched in 2018.
   Significant attention is paid to considering the experience of the Research Institute «Cadaster» (city of Yaroslavl) in research and development of accounting and economic evaluation of natural resources and the damage to the environment that were conducted on the basis of the SEEA methodology. It is noted that the lack of available and comprehensive source data poses a significant challenge in solving the outlined tasks. The paper presents the overall characteristic of the Cadaster Institute activities in ecosystem services assessment in the regions of Russia. Summing up, the authors determine the main tasks of the SEEA implementation in Russia that follows the UNECE and OECD seminar recommendations with regard to the design of the SEEA architecture adapted to the Russian conditions; application of the SEEA methodology for addressing current issues of economic policy; introduction of new data sources and their harmonisation with the existing statistical standards and classifications; joining efforts of Rosstat, ministries and government agencies to promote knowledge on the SEEA methodology within a wide range of information users; creating the conditions for inter-agency cooperation.

Keywords: System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA), environmental assets, resource rent, Net Present Value (NPV) method, socio-economic evaluation of natural resources, ecosystem service.

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