4 November, 2022 | Virtual


Host: Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW)
Facilitator: UNSW Sustainable Development Reform Hub

This virtual National Dialogue aimed to strengthen mutual awareness and action planning across Australian institutions and communities concerning natural capital accounting, and recognise its critical role as a foundation of measurement, innovation, investment, management and planning of progress towards Australia’s long-term well-being. It featured a scene-setting discussion between government, business and third sector thought leaders, followed by facilitated discussion to identify opportunities for natural capital accounting in the country. The discussion was informed by a series of background presentations prepared by leading thematic experts across Australia, and intended to lay a foundation for ongoing outcome-focused collaboration between the public, private and third sectors.

Speakers

  • Anthony Bennie, Acting Head of Division, Biodiversity Markets, Economics & Environmental Science Division, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW)
  • Ariana Cowling, Director, Financing Solutions for Nature, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW)
  • Ben Milligan, Co-Director, Sustainable Development Reform Hub, University of New South Wales
  • Carl Obst, Director, IDEEA Group
  • Dan Whitaker, Economist, IDEEA Group
  • Darren Menachemson, Global Partner (Digital Societies), ThinkPlace
  • Elizabeth Edye, Director, Biodiversity Markets Policy and Design Section, Biodiversity Markets, Economics and Environmental Science Division, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW)
  • Eszter Szabo, Environmental-Economic Accounts Section, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW)
  • Gemma Van Halderen, General Manager, Population, Labour, Industry and Location Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Gillian Mayne, Director of Natural Capital Strategy and Investment, Queensland Department of Environment and Science
  • Guy Boggs, CEO, Cooperative Research Centre for Transformations in Mining Economies
  • Jas Chambers, Chair and Co-founder, Ocean Decade Australia •John Finisdore, Senior Manager, Natural Capital team, Point Advisory
  • Jonathon Khoo, Director, Centre for Environmental and Satellite Accounts at Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Lyn O'Connell, Deputy Secretary, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW)
  • Min Wah Voon, Head of Working Groups, Responsible Investment Association Australasia
  • Mladen Kovac, Director, Natural Capital, Economics and Insights Branch, New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment •Nic Lansdell, Associate Director, Marsden Jacob Associates
  • Nick Butcher, Board Chair, Australian Wildlife Conservancy •Nicole Yazbek-Martin, Sustainable Finance Taxonomy Lead, Australian Sustainable Finance Institute
  • Paul Carnell, Natural Capital theme lead, Blue Carbon Lab, Deakin University
  • Peter Burnett, Faculty of Law, Australian National University
  • Russell Reichelt, Australian Sherpa, High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy

Context

The Sustainable Development Goals recognise that “social and economic development depends on the sustainable management of our planet’s natural resources”, including the biodiversity and ecosystems therein. To achieve the future we want for Australia, we need to change our measures of economic success to guide us on a more sustainable path. Global commitments to “make nature count” in social and economic decision-making are now embedded in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, draft Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and across a growing range of leaders’ commitments such as those made in 2020 by the 17 Heads of Government represented on the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel), in 2021 by the Leaders’ of the G20, and through the ongoing work of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). In Australia, a growing number of public and private sector institutions have committed to making nature’s wealth count through diverse initiatives such as the National Strategy and Action Plan for Environmental-Economic Accounting, Australian leadership in Sustainable Ocean Management, development of a National Voluntary Biodiversity Market and other Financing Solutions for Nature, and multi-sector Australian contributions to the TNFD. Meeting these commitments depends on urgent collaborative action to compile and use natural capital accounts (also commonly referred to as environmental-economic accounts)—which connect social, economic and environmental information about nature in coherent and comparable formats, in line with international statistical standards such as the System of Environmental Economic Accounting. As a global leader in measuring and accounting for nature, Australia is well placed to seize the opportunities that can flow from embedding nature's value in all key decisions that shape our common future.

Agenda

Updated weekly until 24 hours prior to the Dialogue

  • 10:00 Welcome from organisers and summary of objectives 
  • 10:20 Scene-setting panel: Featuring facilitated discussion between public sector, private sector, global and indigenous perspectives. 
  • 11:10 Q&A for scene-setting panel 
  • 11:40 Introduction to thematic discussions 
  • 11:50 Break 
  • 12:00 Thematic discussion 1: opportunities for environmental policy and regulation 
  • 13:00 Thematic discussion 2: opportunities for sustainable finance and investment 
  • 13:55 Break 
  • 14:00 Thematic session 3: opportunities for social and economic policy and assessment 
  • 15:00 Wrap up session: focus on next steps 
  • 15:30 Close of Dialogue

Additional notes and references

The Sustainable Development Goals recognise that “social and economic development depends on the sustainable management of our planet’s natural resources”: UNGA A/RES/70/1, preamble paragraph 33. On the need for changing our measures of economic success to guide us on a more sustainable path—see: Independent Review of the EPBC Act, 2020, Final Report of the Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity 2022, High Level Panel Blue Paper on National Accounting for the Ocean and Ocean Economy 2020, and Report on the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2009. 

Illustrative commitments to "make nature count":