The Changing Wealth of Nations 2021 Report has highlighted a concerning decline in Ghana's natural capital per capita, which reached its peak at $9,000 in 2014 but dropped by more than 30% to $6,000 in 2018.
According to the World Bank, if this trend persists, it will exacerbate the depletion of natural resources, disproportionately affecting the poor and increasing vulnerability to climate risks.
Moving beyond GDP measurements, the Ghanaian government has recognized the impact of nature degradation on its developmental goals and has taken strategic action in collaboration with the Global Program on Sustainability (GPS) and the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).
They are working towards implementing the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting to integrate the value of nature and its services into development and investment planning.
The report emphasizes that the Ghanaian government leveraged existing alliances and partnerships, such as the Cost of Environmental Degradation Working Group, to avoid starting from scratch. By enhancing collaboration across institutions and sharing best practices, they have accelerated capacity building among technical officers in various ministries.
With a solid foundation in place, the next crucial step is to improve the reliability and timeliness of data. This will provide the necessary indicators for effective planning, policy formulation, and implementation.
Encouragingly, preliminary results indicate promising progress. Ghana is actively developing accounts for land and ecosystem extent, ecosystem services, and environmentally adjusted macroeconomic indicators.
These efforts will enable the government to target landscape restoration interventions, inform land-use planning and conservation policies, and establish key indicators for monitoring and reporting purposes.