Food and Agriculture Statistics

Training on Compilation and Application of Environmental Extended Supply and Use Tables


July 2-5 2018, Pretoria, South Africa

High-quality economic and environmental statistics are important inputs into evidence-based policy formulation and decision-making. To measure sustainability, there is a need to integrate economic and natural capital (including land, air, water, ecosystems, and living organisms), human capital, and social capital within a unified accounting framework, to enrich conventional economic measures such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The first step towards establishing natural capital accounts is through so-called Environmentally-Extended Supply and Use Tables (EE-SUTs), which extend to key environmental the more standard tables of National Accounts used to measure GDP. The System of National Accounts (SNA) and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) are the reference international statistical standards that underlie concepts, definitions, classifications, accounting framework and methodology needed for this task. Relevant natural capital linked to agriculture, forestry and fisheries can be accounted using the SEEA Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (SEEA AFF), developed specifically by FAO together with the UN Statistics Division and other international partners.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and FAO support Natural Capital activities in member countries, through dedicated capacity development activities, such as the recent Regional Seminar for African countries on the “Compilation and Application of EE-SUTs.”


Compilation and Application of EE-SUTs: Face-to-face Regional Seminar. The programme included hands-on guidance towards compiling various EE-SUTs, including accounts for agriculture, greenhouse gas emissions, energy, forest, land, waste, and water, with presentations on country experiences, practices and cases on national action plans, compilation, and meeting the challenges on SEEA implementation. FAO covered the following accounts:

(a) Physical flow accounts for crops (measurement purpose and scope, accounting entries, measurement issues and possible extensions); including description of other relevant SEEA AFF agricultural accounting tables such as Asset accounts for plantations and Asset accounts for livestock (measurement purpose and scope);

(b) Physical flow accounts for wood forestry products (measurement purpose and scope, accounting entries, measurement issues and possible extensions); including description of Asset accounts for forestryAsset accounts for timber resources and Air Emissions accounts. The training included numerical examples and exercises for the Physical flow accounts for crops and the Physical flow account for wood forestry products.

The Regional Seminar was attended by staff of NSOs and Agricultural Ministries from the following twelve countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Uganda, Zambia. Among these, several countries have expressed during the training the desire to implement natural capital accounting tables in line with the initial capacity development received at the workshop.


The GEF and the Natural Capital. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. It has specific programmes on Natural Capital and may constitute a valid and robust framework for capacity development on natural capital in African Countries through UNECA and FAO.