HA NOI — Viet Nam has taken the first step toward valuing its stores of natural resources – called its natural capital – a Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment representative said yesterday at a workshop in Ha Noi.
Natural capital is a summary of a country or region’s stocks of natural assets. It includes geology, soil, air, water and all living things. The process by which a country or organisation calculates the total natural resources in a certain ecosystem is called natural capital accounting.
The natural capital accounting, taking place between 2012 and 2016, is part of the Greater Mekong Sub-region’s Core Environment Programme. The ministry and workshop participants discussed forming a partnership on natural capital to encourage more investment in natural capital in the sub-region.
The ministry was asked to lead the accounting process, said Nguyen Minh Khoa from the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment.
In the roadmap the ministry created for keeping account of the country’s natural capital, authorised agencies were told to focus on valuing forests, land water, waste, minerals, aquaculture and fisheries, Khoa said.
The ministry has run into some challenges, Khoa said, including shortages of data and inconsistencies. He asked agencies to co-operate more closely with the ministry to collect a full set of data.
Natural capital accounting could help Viet Nam raise more investments in natural capital in the coming years, workshop participants said.
Ways to invest in natural capital include intervening to restore and protect mangrove forests, using resources more efficiently, or reducing the negative impacts of economic development in sectors that depend on the ecosystem.
The institute said that the Greater Mekong Sub-region needed to invest more in natural capital to achieve a more sustainable future. It also needed to develop a higher level of food, energy and water security.
The workshop presented a potential plan for a partnership focused on investing more in natural capital in the sub-region.
The partnership aims to bring together sub-region stakeholders – governments, businesses, development partners and civil society – to ensure food, energy and water security in the area.