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Monday, 07 September 2020

Centre for Sustainable Oceans drives African Ocean Accounting

ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION: Prof Ken Findlay reveals that 38 African coastal countries are increasingly turning to their oceans for economic development leading to a marked expansion of their ocean economies. ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION: Prof Ken Findlay reveals that 38 African coastal countries are increasingly turning to their oceans for economic development leading to a marked expansion of their ocean economies.

CPUT’s Centre for Sustainable Oceans is playing an integral role in the development of Ocean Accounting practices in Africa under its membership of the Global Ocean Accounting Partnership (GOAP).

The Centre recently co-authored the GOAP Technical Guidance on Ocean Accounts.

Prof Ken Findlay, CPUT Research Chair: Oceans Economy identifies Ocean Accounts as an exciting, novel approach to consistent and standardised integration of ocean resource-use data from environmental, social, and economic domains into structures that are similar to national accounts maintained by national statistical offices or finance ministries. Findlay adds that they provide the means to account for growth, sustainability, and inclusivity of ocean economies in line with the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and allow the monitoring of ocean resource-use information in three important areas, namely:

  • Ocean wealth (including in “non-produced” ecosystem assets) that are critical for the assessments of sustainability;
  • Ocean-related income and welfare across demographic groups, that provide information on inclusivity and access to ocean resources; and
  • Ocean-based economic production that is important in informed strategic economic planning.

“Ocean Accounting draws on accepted spatial System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) experimental ecosystem accounting frameworks, the SEEA-Central Framework (including both the non-produced natural capital flows to economic sectors and impact flows from sectors to the environment) as well as ocean satellite accounts within National Accounts Frameworks,” Findlay explains. He adds that the GOAP Ocean Accounts Framework also introduces guidance on an accounting of ocean risk; access and inclusivity in terms of ocean use benefits and costs, and ocean governance as novel accounting components in order to fully address sustainability.

Ocean Accounts consequently provide a number of advantages in the development of knowledge bases for informed ocean governance and policy cycle processes including:

  • The boosting of the power of data through consistency and structure.
  • The integration of diverse data into information products that decision-makers can readily understand.
  • The provision of indicators that strengthen national statistical systems and identify the attainment of national commitments.
  • Measures of ocean sustainability, access, and inclusiveness.
  • Ongoing review of policy effectiveness for use in adaptive management processes within policy cycles.

Findlay adds that oceans accounting aligns with the African Union’s 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy which describes the ocean economy as the “new frontier of African Renaissance”, while it is also central to the AU’s Agenda 2063 - recognised as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation on the continent. The Centre is leading the Africa Natural Capital Accounting Community of Practice Working Group on Ocean Accounts, the Western Indian Ocean Governance Exchange Network (WIOGEN) Ocean Accounts group, and also plays a lead role in an NRF Community of Practice on Ocean Accounting.

“A recent policy brief has been published through the South African Institute of International Affairs.”


Written by Des