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World Bank, UNN support Nigeria to advance natural capital accounts

The World Bank and University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) are set to support the Federal Government to develop Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) in the country, a university official said on Friday, September 10, 2021

L-R: Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo, Chairman, REPRC Policy Advisory Panel; Prof. Pat Okpoko, DVC Administration, UNN; Dr Salisu Dahiru, Representative of the Minister of Environment; Prof. Anthonia Achike, Director, Gen-Cent, UNN; and Dr Nnaemeka Chukwuone, Director, REPRC-EfD Nigeria, at a two-day workshop on “Towards Natural Capital Accounting for Nigeria” in Abuja, August 30-31, 2021

Dr Nnaemeka Chukwuone, the Director Resources and Environmental Policy Research Centre (REPRC), UNN disclosed this in an interview on Friday, in Abuja.

Chukwuone explained that the essence of the NCA was to enable processing the calculation of the total stocks and flows of natural resources and services in a given ecosystem or region.

He said that the natural capital includes all of the resources that could easily recognise and measure, such as minerals, energy, timber, agricultural land, fisheries and water.

He said that it also included the ecosystem services that were often “invisible” to most people, which include air and water filtration, flood protection, carbon storage, pollination of crops, and habitats for wildlife.

According to him, what we are doing is to support Nigeria to see what can be done to advance the NCA which will as well help reduce carbon emission.

“The REPRC is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Environment and the World Bank is committed to support the government.

“The support will help to advance the initiative and enable us develop what we refer to as a road map which will advance natural property accounting in Nigeria.

“The effort will help to implement the initiative effectively.

“The value of the resources are not readily captured in markets, so we don’t really know how much they contribute to the economy. We often take these services for granted and don’t know what it will cost if we lose them.

“Accounting for natural capital following the System of National Accounts (SNA) was accepted globally, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) does not tell the whole story of the status of a country’s economy.

“This is because the stock of capital, degradation of natural resources which provide many benefits and ecosystem services are not generally accounted for in the GDP.

“However, in spite of the global acceptance, natural capital is not fully accounted for in Nigeria’s national accounts and policy decisions.

“They are neither captured in the financial calculation of Nigeria’s wealth nor explicitly considered assets in national planning with the risk that natural capital is degraded over time, resulting in the loss of benefits to the economy,’’ he said.

Chukwuone said that the objective of the REPRC was to undertake research in environment, agriculture, natural resources, climate and sustainable development themes to facilitate evidence-based policy making, targeting poverty reduction and sustainable development.

He said that the centre had trained some stakeholders on the NCA, adding that the training would help to create an expert group that would facilitate the development of different accounts for Nigeria.

By Vivian Emoni

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