System of National Accounts
The United Nations’ (UN) System of National Accounts (SNA) is an international framework that helps nations measure economic progress and activities. The Australian SNA helps policymakers see important trends and events in the economy.
System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA)
SEEA is a UN developed system that builds on the approaches from the SNA and integrates environmental systems to better understand the relationship between the economy and the environment. To facilitate the national implementation of Environmental-Economic Accounting (EEA), Australia has developed the National Strategy and Action plan for EEA to optimise this framework for Australia’s unique environment.
- The SEEA Central Framework is the first international standard for EEA
- The SEEA Ecosystem Accounting curates the current expertise on ecosystem accounting
- The SEEA Applications and Extensions demonstrates how SEEA accounts can be used to inform decision and policy, as well as environmental research and analysis.
How SNA and SEEA work across different economies
- The System of National Accounts (SNA) is an international framework that helps nations measure trends and events in their economy.
- The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (EEA) was developed by incorporating data and measurement into the SNA. This system ensures some key environmental areas are considered in policy making.
- Using the SNA as guidance, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) regularly produces Australia’s National Accounts. This data measures the economic trends unique to Australia and can be compared to other countries.
- Australia’s national plan for EEA is based on UN standards and captures and uses data specific to our unique environment. The ABS uses EEA to measure how environmental assets such as land, water and energy are managed and used in Australia.
- The SNA is used to measure the economic performance of state and territories (state accounts( or specific activities (like tourism accounts).
- EEA informs local policy management and provides reference for national accounts.
Thematic areas of SEEA
A range of SEEA technical guidance is available for different themes, including for example energy and water. The below themes have been prioritised as part of the Australian Government’s implementation of the National Strategy and Action Plan for EEA and its membership of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.
International statistical standards for ocean accounting are being actively considered. Australia plays a leading role by chairing the UN Working Group to advance the development of formal standards. Australia also participates in the community of practice supported by the Global Ocean Accounts Partnership, of which the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is a member.
Land accounts are essential accounts that measure and track changes of key aspects of the landscape, such as land cover and land use.
Waste accounts provide an economy-wide view of how waste and recycled materials are managed and reused, which includes measurement of the flows of different materials.
ARIES for SEEA
Artificial Intelligence for Environment & Sustainability (ARIES) for SEEA is available on the UN Global Platform, a cloud-service platform supporting international collaboration in the development of official statistics. ARIES can be used to compile accounts based on global datasets and other data loaded by the user.
There are both international and Australian produced courses available to help you learn more about Environmental-Economic Accounting.
Australian National and Sub-National Accounts
There are various other methods and approaches to account development documented as part of specific accounting projects.
- See the additional accounts and resources page for more information
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