Community of Practice:
Ocean Accounts Framework
Valuing our Oceans
Globally, oceans are facing growing pressures due to climate change and increasing human production and consumption activities associated with ocean economy expansions around the world. The value of ocean economies is often measured in terms of varying contributions to national GDP, yet such a measurement tell us little about ocean wealth (including the ocean natural capital and the sustainable use thereof) or the income generated by demographic sector (including ocean resource-use access, benefit and inclusivity). At the same time, “blue economy” metrics that are generated by ocean accounts frameworks and processes (which include inclusivity and sustainability) go far beyond the economic value of the ocean contribution to GDP alone. By integrating information from across economic, social and environmental domains, oceans accounting provides standardised and consistent information for several management practices, tools and strategies that are designed to manage the marine environment more effectively for sustainable and equitable use, including marine spatial planning, ecosystem-based management, sustainable and inclusive ocean economies and natural capital accounting.
Ocean accounts integrate a number of accepted accounting frameworks that include marine ecosystem accounts and environmental economic accounts of the System of Environmental Economic Accounts – Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA – EA) and the System of Environmental Economic Accounts – Central Framework (SEEA – CF), ocean economy satellite accounts under the System of National Accounts (SNA) and Social Accounting Matrices, as well as developing broader social, risk and governance accounting frameworks. In doing so, oceans accounting provides countries with indicator metrics that go well beyond GDP to measure ocean wealth (and sustainable resource use), ocean income and inclusivity and the economic means provided by ocean systems. Importantly, ocean accounting processes also identify knowledge gaps in information required for evidence-based ocean policy cycles.
This project aims to assess the applicability of the Global Oceans Accounting Partnership (GOAP) developed ocean-accounts framework (OAF) in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) as a central component of a wider strategy to ensure that ocean governance contributes as optimally as possible to the broader sustainable goal of Southern African and IORA member States of the WIO to ensure the inclusivity, safety, security and sustainability of coastal communities.
During phase one (2020–2021) the project objectives focus on investigating the applicability and relevance of the Ocean Accounts Framework in implementing national ocean policy and applying ocean-governance instruments. The risks and vulnerabilities associated with climate change, food security and unsustainable development are also investigated, as well as the role of gender and culture in the OAF.
The community of practice is led by Professor Patrick Vrancken (of Nelson Mandela University) as the principal investigator. To address the major knowledge gaps arising from the introduction and development of the OAF, the community of practice has been divided into eight work packages. Each package focuses on various aspects within the Framework that include scientists across several research disciplines and from institutes including Nelson Mandela University, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, SAEON, University of the Western Cape and the Human Sciences Research Council.
Several aspects of this project have been identified as key to the development of the OAF in South Africa. These include the integration of data (standardisation) across disciplines, the sustainability of ocean governance, inclusivity, providing a deeper understanding of the existing environmental accounts and developing novel accounts applicable to South Africa that can be applied to similar countries.
Work Programme Leaders
A VIRTUAL THREE HOUR workshop UNPACKING ocean accounting
“Ocean Economies, Blue Economies and Ocean Accounting Frameworks for Ocean Governance”
Unpacking the Oceans Accounts: