System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA)

The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) is an internationally accepted framework for the collection of data linking environmental and economic statistics. The same definitions, guidelines and approaches are applied in the SEEA and the System of National Accounts (SNA), which is an internationally agreed framework for the measurement of economic activity. Therefore, the SEEA is compatible with the SNA, and environmental issues can be compared with economic issues. The aim of the SEEA is to produce internationally comparable statistics on the use of environmental resources within an economy. The SEEA presents information in both physical and monetary terms, and it enters environmental stocks and flows between the environment and the economy as well as economic activity related to the environment. The SEEA is developed under the patronages of the United Nations, the European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.

The SEEA is comprised of two parts – the SEEA Central Framework (SEEA CF) and the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA). SEEA CF was adopted by the UN Statistical Commission as the first international standard for environmental-economic accounting in 2012. It focuses on single environmental resources such as water, minerals, energy, timber and fish, their use in the economy, and returns back to the environment. The SEEA EA complements the SEEA CF and was adopted by the UN Statistical Commission in 2021. It focuses on ecosystems (instead of on single environmental resources like the SEEA CF) and ecosystem services produced by the ecosystems. It tracks changes in ecosystem assets and links them to economic and other human activities. Next, it takes a spatial approach because the benefits from ecosystems (ecosystem services) depend on the location of the assets providing the ecosystem services.


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