UN launches first artificial intelligence tool for rapid accounting of natural capital
New tool will make it easier for countries to measure ecosystems
New York, April 29 – An innovative artificial intelligence (AI) tool that will make it easier for countries to measure nature’s contributions to their economic prosperity and well-being was launched today by the United Nations and the Basque Center for Climate Change (BC3).
Developed by the Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and BC3, the new tool can significantly speed up the implementation of the new revolutionary standard to value the contributions of nature which was adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission last month.
The tool uses AI technology using the Artificial Intelligence Platform for Environment and Sustainability (ARIES) to help countries apply the new international standard of natural capital accounting, the accounting system economic and environmental (SEEA).
The new open source and user-friendly digital tool, called ARIES for SEEA Explorer, enables, for the first time, fast and standardized ecosystem accounting, but can be personalized anywhere on Earth.
“The ARIES program for SEEA Explorer is a game-changer for governments wishing to implement the recently adopted SEEA ecosystem accounting standard,” said Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the Statistics Division. “This application allows countries to quickly start compiling accounts from global data sources, which they can refine with national data or model parameters.”
Ecosystem accounts produced by countries will track the extent, condition and services provided by nature’s ecosystems – such as forests and wetlands – in the form of physical and monetary accounts and indicators. The adoption of SEEA Ecosystem Accounting was heralded as a historic step forward for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and going beyond GDP in monitoring global progress.
Bert Kroese, Deputy Director of Statistics of the Netherlands and Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Environmental and Economic Accounting, said: “The ARIES for SEEA Explorer will give countries an indispensable tool to progress with the SDGs and the monitoring framework. post-2020. Global Biodiversity Framework. Its low barrier to entry will ensure that no country is left behind when it comes to ecosystem accounting. “
Risenga Maluleke, General Statistician of Statistics South Africa and Chairman of the United Nations Expert Committee on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics, said: “The launch of ARIES for SEEA Explorer on the global platform measuring ecosystems and their contribution to the economy and well-being in global, regional and national statistics that will inform policy and decision-making. Better measures of nature will contribute to better policies to save our planet. “
Building economic systems that value nature as a central source of human well-being, environmental health and economic prosperity in the post-COVID-19 world is essential, according to Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division. “Having technology that incorporates and integrates the latest data, models and understanding of nature’s contributions through natural capital accounting will facilitate positive informed nature decisions on the part of businesses and governments – leading tangible actions on biodiversity loss and climate change and a sustainable future for everything, ”she said.
The new platform could lead to greater collaboration. Ferdinando Villa, Professor at Ikerbasque and ARIES Principal Investigator at BC3, added: “There is a growing global demand for the sustainable management of our natural resources, and to achieve this, scientists and policymakers need to collaborate more and more. AI-based tools like ARIES for SEEA Explorer are the key to a future where open integration and reuse of knowledge, by both, is possible. “
ARIES for SEEA Explorer is available on the United Nations Global Platform: a cloud service environment supporting international collaboration among all countries of the world by sharing scientific knowledge, data, methods and technology.
A number of countries have already started using ARIES for SEEA Explorer. Explorer will continue to expand in the near future, adding the functionality to derive indicators that assess progress towards the SDGs and the new post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
About the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)
The Department helps countries translate their global commitments into national actions in the economic, social and environmental fields. He is a leading analytical voice for promoting inclusion, reducing inequalities and eradicating poverty, and a champion for breaking down the barriers that keep people in poverty.
About the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
UNEP is the world’s leading voice on the environment. It demonstrates leadership and encourages partnership in protecting the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
About the Basque Center for Climate Change
The Basque Center for Climate Change (BC3) is an international interdisciplinary research center based in Bilbao for the study of climate change promoted by the Basque government to promote science and research.