Ecosystem accounting and the need to recognise Indigenous perspectives

Anna Normyle*, Michael Vardon, Bruce Doran

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Ecosystem accounting has been advocated as a potential game changer for managing the environment and economy and was recently standardised by the United Nations (UN) in the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA-EA). However, Indigenous Peoples, their lands, values, and knowledge have not been explicitly included in the SEEA-EA. With more than 40% of global land under some form of Indigenous management or tenure, this omission must be addressed if Indigenous Peoples are to use the SEEA-EA; and if the values and aspirations of Indigenous Peoples are to be reflected in broader environmental and economic management and policy. We outline how Indigenous perspectives differ from those currently recognised in SEEA-EA. A key difference is that Indigenous Peoples view themselves as part of ecosystems rather than distinct from them, and this relationship is two-way, not one-way, as presented in the SEEA-EA. Reconciling these perspectives is possible but will require collaborative engagement with Indigenous Peoples guided by the principles of free, prior, and informed consent. To achieve a reconciliation, we call for two actions: (1) including recognition of Indigenous values as a new item on the SEEA-EA research agenda, and; (2) that Indigenous Peoples be part of the UN processes governing the development of the SEEA-EA
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number133
    JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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