Technical Guidance on Ocean Accounting

Technical Guidance Aug 02, 2019

A key goal of the Ocean Accounts Partnership is the publication of Technical Guidance on Ocean Accounting. Version 1.0 of this Guidance is currently being developed. Working draft versions of the Guidance can be downloaded below. These are a work in progress with much scope for improvement. Comments and author contributions are welcome. If you would like to contribute please contact the Partnership Secretariat.

Download the draft Technical Guidance

The Technical Guidance is currently a pre-release draft intended for consultation purposes. Please do not publicly quote from or circulate the draft without permission from the GOAP Secretariat.  

Comment on the draft Technical Guidance

Comments and content contributions are strongly encouraged, and can be submitted by downloading and sending this form to the GOAP Secretariat.

What are Ocean Accounts?

An Ocean Account is a structured compilation—of consistent and comparable information: maps, statistics and indicators—concerning marine and coastal environments, and related social circumstances and economic activity. The general purpose of such accounts is to inform and enable public policy decision-making about oceans, and related analysis and research. Ocean accounts are distinguishable from other compilations of ocean-related information on the basis that they are:

  • organised by the common framework and structure described in this Guidance, which is designed to enhance the consistency, comparability and coherence of ocean-related data, statistics and indicators across social, environmental and economic domains.
  • compatible with relevant international statistical standards and approaches: including but not limited to the System of National Accounts (SNA), System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), and Framework for Development of Environment Statistics (FDES).
  • compatible with the ten Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics. These Principles were endorsed by the UN General Assembly in January 2014 and are designed as a reference point for ensuring that official statistics are fit-for-purpose given their critical role in: policy decision-making in support of sustainable development; and securing public trust in governance.

Ocean Accounts are designed to support coherent and holistic reporting and assessment of the wide range of social, economic and environmental conditions related to oceans. This broad perspective is intended to be consistent with the practical information requirements of decision-making to achieve sustainable development — which is defined for the present purposes in general terms as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Overview of the Ocean Accounts Framework

Ocean Accounts are fundamentally a collection of tables and supporting data structures that are organised in terms of a conceptual framework that describes:

  • interactions between the economy and the environment,
  • the stocks and changes in stocks of environmental assets (natural capital) that provide benefits to people, and
  • social and governance factors affecting the status and condition of environmental assets and associated benefits.