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Vital information to monitor and evaluate progress towards SDG 14 is available, but it is fragmented across scientific domains, policy frameworks and institutions. ESCAP and UN Environment are leading a global effort to develop statistical guidance based on the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA). The Ocean Accounts Framework provides guidance on selecting, prioritizing and standardizing data of national, regional and global importance, so that it can be integrated and thereby provide a comprehensive view. This requires a conversation among scientists, policy makers and statisticians.

The framework integrates and adapts concepts, classifications and methods consistent with the System of National Accounts (SNA), System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA), and other international frameworks. It provides a coherent structure for standardizing fragmented data to produce reliable integrated indicators of interest to policy.

ESCAP and partners have made substantial progress over 2018 and 2019 in:

  • Engaging regional and international experts in the first Regional Expert Workshop on Ocean Accounts (Bangkok, Aug. 1-3, 2018), which established the Ocean Accounts framework and many ongoing partnerships 

  • Compiling a Technical Guidance on Ocean Accounts for ocean accounts that describes the structure of the Ocean Accounts Framework, provides compilation guidance and illustrates uses cases of the framework

  • Establishing a Global Ocean Accounts Partnershipwhich establishes a coordination and communication structure for diverse member institutions, who have a common interest to ensure that the values and benefits of oceans are recognized and accounted for in decision-making about social and economic development.  

  • Supporting national pilots in China, Canada, Malaysia, Samoa, Thailand and Vietnam to test the framework and to strengthen national capacities and partnerships to achieve SDG14 

  • Developing training materials specific to the Ocean Accounts Framework

  • Compiling a Global Ocean Data Inventory (report and table), which includes data on spatial units, ecosystems and their condition, services provided by these ecosystems and how these services are used

  • Establishing the feasibility of Mapping Global Ocean Ecosystems and the feasibility of integrating these data into a user-centric Pacific Ocean Accounting Portal 

  • Further engaging regional and international experts in the First Global Dialogue on Ocean Accounting (Sydney, Nov. 12-15, 2019), which highlighted the results of the ESCAP pilots, obtained advice on the Technical Guidance, reviewed related research and provided a forum for discussing policy applications

  • Assessing progress on SDG14 data availability and reporting: Navigating Life Below Water in Asia and the Pacific 

  • Assessing progress on SDG14.2.1 (Proportion of national exclusive economic zones managed using ecosystem-based approaches): Asia-Pacific Marine Spatial Planning Snapshot 2009-2019

The partnerships initiated by ESCAP continue to evolve though the Global Ocean Accounts Partnership, the activities and working groups established through the national pilots, and research projects inspired by the Ocean Accounts Framework. Future updates will be made available on

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