The Global Ocean Accounts Partnership - Measuring and managing progress towards ocean sustainable development

About Oct 30, 2021

Who we are
The Global Ocean Accounts Partnership (GOAP) is an international, multistakeholder partnership established to enable countries and other stakeholders to go beyond GDP to measure and manage progress towards sustainable development of the ocean. Co-Chaired by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, GOAP brings together governments, international organizations, research institutions, and the private sector to build a global community of practice for ocean accounting in pursuit of a sustainable and inclusive ocean economy.

What we do
There is an urgent need to measure progress towards ocean-based sustainable development in accordance with commitments of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, Sustainable Development Goal 14 (life below water), 15.9 (valuing nature in decision-making), 17.19 (measurement of progress complementing GDP) and other relevant international agendas. To achieve this, GOAP:

  • Convenes a global Expert Panel to develop Technical Guidance on Ocean Accounting and related knowledge products in line with the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) and System of National Accounts (SNA).
  • Provides financial or in-kind support for development and implementation of ocean accounting initiatives, including national pilots in Fiji, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Maldives, Malaysia, Samoa, Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa.
  • Provides a coordination and communication platform for its members to share knowledge and best practices on ocean accounting and encourage their use in ocean policy development.

What are ocean accounts?
Ocean accounts are integrated records of regularly compiled and comparable data concerning ocean environment conditions (e.g., extent/condition of mangroves), economic activity (e.g., sale of fish) and social conditions (e.g., coastal employment). They are based on the SNA and SEEA thereby maintaining a similar structure as existing national accounts maintained by National Statistical Offices or Finance Ministries. Ocean Accounts integrate four key components:
1. Macro-economic accounts from which economic measures such as GDP are derived, and from which legal, illegal, unreported, and unregulated activities can be accounted for.
2. Environmental-economic accounts that explain assets and flows, wastes, expenditures, taxes, and subsidies.
3. Ecosystem accounts which agree on a spatial framework or the extent, condition, biodiversity, services, and value of ecosystems.
4. Structured data on ocean beneficiaries, technology, governance, and management.

Why ocean accounts matter
Ocean accounts provide a common information infrastructure for ocean policy development, reporting and decision making; and enable countries to monitor three critical trends:
1. Changes in ocean wealth, including produced assets (e.g., ports) and non-produced assets (e.g., mangroves, coral reefs).
2. Ocean-related income and welfare (e.g., income from fisheries for local communities).
3. Ocean-based economic production (e.g., GDP from ocean-related sectors).

Ocean accounts deliver information for:

  • Measurement of progress towards ocean sustainable development.
  • Compilation of inventories for marine and coastal sinks and sources of greenhouse gases.
  • Strategic and spatial development planning, including trade-off analysis.
  • Benefit-cost analysis of ocean development proposals and plans.
  • Tracking of the inclusiveness of the ocean economy.
  • Strengthened National Statistical Systems.

Get in touch with us for:

  • Collaboration on development and implementation of ocean accounting initiatives.
  • Policy development support for ocean resources and the ocean economy.
  • Opportunities to provide methodological input for the Technical Guidance on Ocean Accounting and development of related international statistical standards.
  • Opportunities to share knowledge, challenges, and best practices on ocean accounting with global stakeholders.

Download 'GOAP in Brief'.