Ocean accounts provide countries with the means to go Beyond GDP to measure and manage progress towards ocean sustainable development. They achieve this by:

  • Enhancing the power of data by integrating multiple data sets from a range of sources to enable countries to monitor three critical trends:
     - Changes in ocean wealth, including produced assets (e.g., ports) and non-produced assets (e.g., mangroves).
     - Ocean-related income and welfare (e.g., income from fisheries for local communities).
     - Ocean-based economic production (e.g., GDP from ocean-related sectors).
  • Creating a common information infrastructure (especially important because many ocean policy shortcomings arise from isolated information) to enable evidence-based decision-making on ocean governance matters including:
     - Ocean policy development (e.g., Marine Spatial Planning) and the review of policy outcomes and their effectiveness.
     - Assessing where (and where not) and how marine ecosystems perform better than conventional coastal infrastructure: e.g., when do mangroves or wetlands provide more benefits than concrete?​
     - Activating private sector financing in the ocean economy and ecosystem restoration projects by providing investors with comparable and regularly updated project data to monitor progress, impact, and benefit.
     - Understanding how growth and employment are underpinned by specific ecosystem conditions and functions: Invest $X to restore ocean to condition Y = Z benefits.
  • Supporting the derivation of comparable, Beyond GDP indicators. If a common accounting structure is used, these indicators can be integrated, and international comparisons made.
  • Providing the information and indicators needed for international reporting for the SDGs, Paris Agreement, and other relevant commitments.
  • Organising and presenting information in manner that decision-makers can easily understand (e.g., as dashboards, scenarios, spatial plans, and indicators).