Eva Patai, NES Environment Compliance Officer, and Ana Tiraa, DCD Program Administrator, recently attended the Asia-Pacific Natural Capital Forum at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters in Manila, Philippines.
The forum was focused on Mainstreaming Natural Capital Assessments to Address the Climate-Food-Nature-Nexus. The key topics of discussion included the lack of accounting that values the contribution of natural capital to our economies. Undervaluation and nature missing from the economic and financial decision-making process contributes to the loss and degradation of nature and its resources. The aim of Natural Capital is to Integrate nature into development planning, policy making, financial reform, investment decisions and knowledge generation process.
Along with other multilateral development institutions, ADB is working to develop the systems and tools that will enable more precisely valuing nature which can be integrated into national accounting systems to understand and measure the contribution of nature as well as help decision makers identify where investment is needed to build up natural capital assets. This is the second follow up meeting from the first meeting that was held earlier this year in Stanford.
The Cook Islands was the only Pacific country in attendance with a pilot project area based on coastal areas heavily reliant on tourism. The Cook Islands addressed environmental issues occurring in Muri Lagoon due to land-based use such as algal blooms as a result of many factors including nutrient loading/pollution, coastal development and some faulty sanitation systems. The Cook Islands representatives alongside a team each from the Natural Capital project and ADB are currently working to introduce and build capacity of Natural Capital to wider Cook Islands stakeholders and eventually target the issues occurring in Muri Lagoon.