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By: Glenn-Marie Lange, Rashid Hassan and Kirk Hamilton
Environmental accounts bring together economic and environmental information in a common framework to measure the contribution of the environment to the economy and the impact of the economy on the environment. They enable governments to set priorities, monitor economic policies more precisely, enact more effective environmental regulations and resource management strategies, and design more efficient market instruments for environmental policies. Many industrialized countries compile environmental accounts, but progress in developing countries has been limited - even though the need for environmental accounts is perhaps more acute in these regions. "Environmental Accounting in Action" studies the experiences of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, the core countries of a unique, regional environmental accounting programme in Southern Africa. Covering minerals, forestry, fisheries and water, each chapter provides important lessons about sustainable resource management. As a whole, the case studies demonstrate how to overcome the many challenges of constructing environmental accounts and the mechanics of successful implementation. By providing a transparent system of information about the relationship between human activities and the environment, the accounts have improved policy dialogue among different stakeholders and have played a significant role in environmental policy design.
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