Artificial Intelligence tool for rapid natural capital accounting

Artificial Intelligence Tool For Rapid Natural Capital Accounting. The United Nations and the Basque Center for Climate Change (BC3) have launched an innovative artificial intelligence tool that will make it possible to measure nature’s contributions to the prosperity and economic well-being.

Developed by the Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and BC3, the new application can greatly accelerate the implementation of the new System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA) standard adopted by the UN Statistical Commission last month.

The tool, called ARIES for SEEA because it uses the Artificial Intelligence for Environment and Sustainability (ARIES) platform, is easy to use, and will make possible, for the first time, rapid and standardized yet customizable ecosystem accounting anywhere on Earth.

“ARIES for SEEA is a game-changer, as it allows countries to start compiling accounts from global data sources, which they can refine with national data, parameters and models,” emphasized Stefan Schweinfest, director of the Statistics Division.

Ecosystem accounting produced by countries will incorporate the extent, condition and services provided by, for example, forests or wetlands, and present it in the form of physical and monetary accounts and indicators.

The adoption of this accounting has been heralded as a historic step towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to move beyond GDP in tracking global progress.

The ARIES for SEEA application is available on the UN Global Platform, a cloud-based space that supports international collaboration among all countries around the world by sharing scientific knowledge, data, methods and technologies.

Several countries have already started using this new tool, which will continue to expand to derive indicators to assess progress towards the SDGs and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. “Building economic systems that value nature as a source of human well-being, environmental health, and economic prosperity in the post-COVID-19 world is essential,” concluded Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Division of Ecosystems

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