Using Natural Capital Accounts for Green Growth in Uganda

Uganda is a regional leader in shaping strategies for inclusive green growth – developing ways of better mobilising the rich natural capital that directly and indirectly supports livelihoods and economic growth. The country produced a Green Growth Development Strategy in 2017 that emphasises the importance of managing natural capital for key sectors, and notably agriculture, tourism, energy, transport, and city development.

The country has been pursuing a range of green investments since then, using key opportunities such as policy reviews, development planning and budget processes and recently the government’s economic stimulus programmes for post-COVID recovery. Some commentators have already noted that Uganda’s recovery programmes are far more positive for the environment than those of most countries. At the same time, Uganda has also become a regional leader in natural capital accounting (NCA). NCA exercises have begun to provide Uganda with a systematic statistical framework for measuring and valuing natural capital assets and the services they provide.

By combining environmental information and economic information, NCA points to economic activities that are underusing natural potentials, as well as those that are overusing natural capital and degrading it. With UNEP-WCMC support and funding through the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative, Uganda has recently produced three new natural capital accounts for fisheries, tourism, and soils/land.

All the outputs from the project are available at: https://www.unep-wcmc.org/featured-projects/nca-in-uganda. The purpose of this paper is to draw on the findings from these new accounts to illustrate what kinds of green growth options can be developed. It has two goals: firstly, to inform green growth policies, economic instruments and specific investments in fisheries, tourism, and land management.

For the investments identified, we have focused on the likely jobs to be created, however, more investment appraisal on the costs, benefits, returns on investments, risks and their distribution will also be needed. Our second aim is to encourage further development and embedding of NCA as an integral part of the institutional ‘machinery’ of green growth modelling, planning, implementation and monitoring.

Alongside the three accounts supported by the Darwin Initiative, further accounts with e.g., World Bank and UNSD support, and a Ugandan National Plan of Action on Environmental-Economic Accounts are commended for their potential to support green growth. Stakeholder Needs Assessment Report Indicative Biodiversity and Tourism Accounts in Ecosystem and ecosystem services accounts: time for applications - Thematic Working Group 17 of the Ecosystem Service Partnership Biodiversity and Tourism Accounts for Uganda (Accounts Report) Biodiversity and Tourism Accounts for Uganda (Metadata Report) Fisheries Resources Accounts for Uganda (Accounts Report) Fisheries Resources Accounts for Uganda (Metadata Report) Biodiversity and Tourism Accounts Draft v0.1 (Methodological Notes) Fisheries Accounts Draft v0.1 (Methodological Notes) Land Degradation Accounts Draft v0.1 (Methodological Notes)

Herein are some of the reports developed on the project:

  1. Stakeholder Needs Assessment Report
  2. Indicative Biodiversity and Tourism Accounts in Ecosystem and ecosystem services accounts: time for applications - Thematic Working Group 17 of the Ecosystem Service Partnership
  3. Biodiversity and Tourism Accounts for Uganda (Accounts Report)
  4. Biodiversity and Tourism Accounts for Uganda (Metadata Report)
  5. Fisheries Resources Accounts for Uganda (Accounts Report)
  6. Fisheries Resources Accounts for Uganda (Metadata Report)
  7. Biodiversity and Tourism Accounts Draft v0.1 (Methodological Notes)
  8. Fisheries Accounts Draft v0.1 (Methodological Notes)
  9. Land Degradation Accounts Draft v0.1 (Methodological Notes)