Pilot work on material flow accounting in South Africa

Expert Group Meeting

Meeting Title: Pilot work on material flow accounting in South Africa

Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Date: 28th to 29th of November 2017

Partners: IRP

SDG Indicators: 8.4.1, 8.4.2, 12.1.1, 12.2.1, 12.2.2

Type: Material Flow Accounts

Brief Description:

National material flow accounts and indicators deliver a very comprehensive overview of natural resource extraction, trade in natural resources, waste disposal and emissions. They measure environmental pressures of natural resource use and material flow accounting (MFA) headline indicators have been used as a proxy for overall environmental pressure and impact of a national economy. For this reason, indicators based on MFA data sets have been adopted for monitoring progress of the 2030 sustainable development agenda and the SDG targets for resource productivity (SDG 8.4) and sustainable use of natural resources (SDG 12.2).

UN Environment conducted a Country Visit to South Africa to discuss the UN Global Manual on Material Flow Accounts. This was done in close collaboration with IRP, CSIRO, Nagoya University, University of Vienna and Institute of Social Ecology. The country mission targeted National Statistical Offices and the Ministry of Environment.

UN Environment detailed introduction on concepts and methods of Material Flow Accounts as well as indicators derived and potential applications. This further led to a study of the practical application of material flow accounts, domestic extraction, trade, waste and emissions, material footprints and material stock accounts. Specific issues according to South Africa requirements were equally discussed.

The participants gained an understanding of Material Flow Accounts, its concepts and methods as well as potential applications in policy processes. The participants also undertook the first steps of data compilation, resulting in a better understanding of system boundaries, required data, estimation methods, potential challenges and different procedures to tackle data issues.