Argentina’s ongoing efforts to integrate Environmental and Economic Statistics

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Ciclistas en la ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Ciclistas en la ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

"What gets measured, gets managed." This well-known phrase holds significant relevance in the context of climate change, emphasizing the crucial role of accurate and timely information about the environment and its interaction with human activity in making informed decisions. It underscores the importance of measurement and monitoring as essential steps in effectively addressing the challenges posed by climate change.

In line with this, the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) proposed in its strategic plan for 2021-2026 to advance the development of environmental-economic statistics in Argentina. With the support of the World Bank, the country presented its inaugural roadmap for implementing and incorporating the environmental domain into its work plan in 2023 .

Constructing these statistics is fundamental for describing the intricate interactions between the economy and the environment, as well as the state and quality of natural capital and its changes over time. This endeavor adheres to the international standards of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA), which encompasses accounting concepts, structures, rules, and principles derived from the System of National Accounts (SNA).

As shown by international experience, the construction of environmental and economic accounts is a multi-stage process that progressively deepens and operationalizes over time . In the initial phase, spanning 2021 and 2022, the World Bank provided support for surveying, enabling the compilation, reorganization, and systematization of existing statistics from various publications, systems, and portals.

To accomplish this, the structure proposed by the Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES) has been followed, encompassing 458 environmental statistics. These statistics are organized into different levels based on their relevance, availability, and methodological robustness. Level 1 corresponds to the Core Set of Environmental Statistics which are of high priority and relevance for most countries and have a solid methodological basis. Argentina has successfully integrated and published around 60 percent of these Level 1 statistics, which are already available on the INDEC’s website. Furthermore, this publication shows progress in compiling 18 indicators out of 358 possible in Levels 2 and 3. These include environmental statistics that are prioritized and relevant for most countries but require more time, resources, or methodological development (Level 2), or are of lower priority or require significant methodological development (Level 3). (See chart in Spanish in this blog post).

Building on these achievements, the objectives that INDEC has set include proposing a governance model for the construction of the Environmental Accounts System, with INDEC acting as the governing body; implementing the conceptual framework of the integrated and multidisciplinary Environmental Accounts System; developing a data infrastructure; building technical capacities within INDEC and other statistical services of the National Statistical System (SEN) through national and international workshops on the environmental accounting system; ensuring effective public communication of the objectives and expected results of each phase to generate a virtuous circle with citizens and users for the development of environmental accounts; and developing the implementation of pilot environmental accounts.

All of this will help make visible the contributions of nature to the economy and the well-being of people.

Challenges for the integration of environmental topics into the statistical and economic frameworks

Over the past few years, INDEC has made remarkable strides in integrating environmental issues into its regular statistical products. However, it's important to acknowledge that challenges still lie ahead. Environmental statistics, being a relatively new field, demands a high level of coordination due to their interdisciplinary nature.

Nevertheless, we remain confident that the wealth of experience and knowledge accumulated during this time serves as a solid foundation for Argentina to tackle these challenges with confidence and expertise.

The World Bank will continue to support INDEC with the conviction that accurate and timely information is an invaluable public good and fundamental for designing policies that contribute to ending poverty on a livable planet .

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