Neda, World Bank to assess natural wealth

The National Economic and Development Authority and the Philippine Statistics Authority have teamed up with the World Bank to establish a national account on natural resources.

The program called Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services or Waves aims to account the available natural resources are available.

“Waves is a global partnership that aims to promote sustainable development by ensuring that natural resources are mainstreamed in development planning and national economic accounts,” Neda said in a statement.

It said the Waves project in the Philippines could help the country manage “natural capital” to promote growth and poverty reduction; weigh trade-offs of conflicting land uses; and prioritize investments in forest resources management and protection.

Raymunda Talento, interim assistant national statistician, said the government was signing permits to extract resources without determining the losses.  “Right now, the government gives out permits without considering if there will still be some left for the future generations,” Talento said.

Talento said the Waves project was necessary to determine the sustainability of economic growth.  PSA and Neda would use a $400,000 grant from the World Bank to set up the national accounting of the natural resources.

PSA will adopt the framework used by the United Nations in accounting for the natural resources and see what fits in the Philippine scenario.  The government will be able to put a price on forest resources, water resource and even mineral resource.

The World Bank initially identified Laguna Lake and Southern Palawan as key areas for the study.

The World Bank said for low-income countries, natural capital, with 36-percent share, was most important as it comprised of more than twice the produced capital, representing 14 percent.

For middle income countries, natural capital and produced capital were roughly equal at 20 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

For high income countries, intangible wealth dominates at 80 percent while natural capital stood at 3 percent.

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