The organization/ department in brief
In a joint effort, the National Water Agency (ANA), the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) and the Secretariat of Water Resources and Environmental Quality of the Ministry of the Environment (SRHQ/MMA) presented the first results from the Environmental–Economic Accounting for Water (EEA-W) in Brazil in March 2018. Such integration relies on the technical support and close collaboration of the Secretariat of Biodiversity (SBIO) of the Ministry of the Environment, and the German Cooperation for Sustainable Development through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
Why was this undertaken?
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Brazil in 2012, also known as ‘Rio+20’, sought to renew the political commitment of its Member States with the sustainable development. The document signed by Brazil and other countries during the Rio+20 conference and consolidated in the new 2030 Agenda aims, among other things, at showing the need to integrate and acknowledge the interconnections among the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the development. The purpose is to foster sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth, reducing inequalities, raising basic life standards, promoting social development, integrated and sustainable management of natural resources, and ensuring conservation, regeneration and recovery of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the face of new and emerging challenges.
The 2030 Agenda proposes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which have become 169 targets based on the legacy of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To implement the SDG, both internationally and in each country individually, there is an array of challenges, from the elaboration or enhancement of policies and management instruments, to the adjustment of procedures related to parameters, methodologies and indicators. The 2030 Agenda establishes that technical and scientific knowledge is critical to establish targets and to use indicators to properly check their progress.
What was the scope?
The Environmental–Economic Accounting for Water in Brazil is supporting sectoral planning and management actions, economic and water resources actions, by diagnosing how the water is used by the Brazilian economic sector. Particularly, the Brazilian water accounts integrates physical indicators with monetary indicators, creating conditions to influence actions and public policies when it comes to integrated management of physical and monetary aspects of water. This is done by organizing the information that shows evidence of the interactions between the economy and the environment, related to sustainable development and other public policies.
What was the role of the Government?
Brazil, through Decree # 8,892/2016, created a National Commission for the SDG, whose purpose is to internalize, disseminate and convey transparency to the 2030 Agenda implementation process. The commission will leverage studies, results from policies, and actions in the public and private sector concerning the SDG. For such, there must be a great effort from partners and initiatives of government bodies in different areas, in the view of the set of assignments the National Water Agency, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics and the Secretariat of Water Resources and Environmental Quality of the Ministry of the Environment directly have with SDG 6 – Water and Sanitation – as well as others, considering the transversal nature of water in the economic, social and environmental agenda. In this direction, information in the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) Water model is structured to be linked to the SDG 6 and others.
What were the results?
The first Environmental–Economic Accounting for Water results for Brazil are presented for the period between 2013 and 2015, and include the Asset, Physical and Hybrid Supply and Use Tables, as well as Indicators.
The results present strategic information that aim at supporting sectoral planning and management actions, economic and water resources actions, by diagnosing how the water is used by the Brazilian economic sector, such as (i) how pressures made by economic activities affect water stocks; (ii) water flows from the environment to the economy, water flows connected to economic activities and water flows from the economy to the environment; (iii) costs associated with economic activities that demand water in their production, income generated by the production associated with a given water demand, investment and maintenance costs for the infrastructure related to activities of water collection, treatment and supply and costs for the supply system users; and (iv) availability of water resources, water use for human activities, and water intensity and productivity associated with water.
With the updating of Environmental–Economic Accounting for Water time-series in the medium and long-term, the stakeholders and researchers can, for example, apply Environmental–Economic Accounting for Water to water demand forecasting, risk management, analysis of the economic impacts caused by limited water supply, study of policy options/demand management, and planning of infrastructures aiming at water security.
The next steps are related to construct the next Environmental–Economic Accounting for Water in a regional framework and developing methods for additional estimates.
Although the time series presented consists of three years only, the data available, the methods compiled, the cooperation among institutions and the results obtained for Brazil indicate the possibility for enhancing the information, continuously updating Environmental–Economic Accounting for Water and systematically and regularly disseminating data, aiming at using it as an effective way to design and assess public policies, which is something decision-makers and the society as a whole can do.
The results obtained so far and the comparison with the development stage of Environmental–Economic Accounting for Water in other countries allow for indicating the next steps to consolidate and complement the existing gaps. As it consists of an initial set of data subject to improvements and expansions, it is expected that in the future, when Brazil’s and other countries’ accounts have been consolidated, it is possible to conduct comparative analyses with other countries and broadly exchange experiences in water management worldwide.