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International Case Studies of Ecosystem Accounting

The world is increasingly recognising the global crisis in biodiversity and building a response. Biodiversity in Ireland is no less in crisis: The National Biodiversity Action Plan 2023-2030 set out the problem as: ‘Despite ongoing conservation and restoration efforts, Ireland’s biodiversity is in a state of crisis, and urgent, impactful action is imperative to prevent the continued erosion of our natural heritage’ (DHLGH, 2022: 6). As part of building a response to this crisis, a number of countries have developed and built a statistical system to recognise the contributions of nature to the economy and society, natural capital accounting.

This paper will provide an overview of international experience in natural capital and, in particular, ecosystem accounting and present the policy and legal context for these tools in the UN and the EU. This paper will then focus on examining implementation in the UK, Netherlands, and Mexico in some detail and a brief introduction to relevant developments in Australia, Canada and the U.S.A.