Self-learning Materials


The FDES provides guidance on a core set of environmental indicators that has proven beneficial to inform policy. It is designed to assist all countries in articulating environment statistics programmes by: (i) delineating the scope of environment statistics and identifying its constituents; (ii) contributing to the assessment of data requirements, sources, availability and gaps; (iii) guiding the development of multipurpose data collection processes and databases; and (iv) assisting in coordination and organization across institutions.

The FDES (Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics) describes the scope and components of environment statistics as measuring:

  • The state of the environment
  • Our dependence on the environment
  • Our impact on it
  • Its impact on us (even negative ones)
  • How we protect and manage it


The SEEA, an international statistical standard, provides a coherent and integrated framework for collecting, organizing, analysing, presenting environmental data and relating it to economic and social data. It adheres to the principles of the System of National Accounts (SNA), and expands its scope by:

- taking an accounting approach to record the stocks and flows of natural inputs into the economy,

- providing standard terminology, definitions, methods and classifications,

- adding measures and classifications of:

    • physical stocks of natural capital (including ecosystems) and their monetary values,
    • physical resource flows (land, metals and minerals, timber, energy, water, fish) into the economy
    • residual flows from the economy (air emissions, water effluents, solid waste) into the environment
    • environmental activities such as protection expenditures, taxes and subsidies,
    • ecosystems and their services, including biodiversity and carbon sequestration, and

- linking economic activities (producers and consumers) to societal benefits.

Together, FDES and SEEA can address many of the requirements for monitoring and reporting on progress towards national and international environmental, sustainable development, biodiversity and green economy priorities. These requirements include addressing the demand for information in support of integrated policies of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Most FEDS and SEEA indicators and accounts have been implemented in many national contexts. Since national institutional arrangements, environmental contexts and priorities and capacities differ, the guidance on implementation is flexible and modular. This allows countries to select priority information and adapt the guidance to their individual requirements.