Advisory Documents

Natural capital approaches

Natural capital approaches

Natural Capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets and resources providing a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services, that make human life possible. This information brief provides a synthesis of a study commissioned by STAP and conducted by the Stanford Natural Capital Project, which reviews the recent experience of various countries and the GEF in implementing Natural capital approaches’, a set of techniques which blend diverse disciplines and methodologies and usually involve natural capital assessments and natural capital accounts.

The study finds that there is now sufficient understanding among financial institutions, governments, and civil society to start implementing natural capital approaches more widely, which is being helped by new data technologies, computing power and algorithms that are driving scientific breakthroughs in how to quantify and map natural assets and ecosystem services.  However, despite these advances and the wide availability of appropriate tools, uptake among GEF agencies and policymakers in partner countries is not advancing fast enough to generate transformational and durable change and on the ground. Key barriers include difficulties accessing the latest data and guidance and the lack of capacity among key stakeholders to employ cutting-edge analyses and tools.

The study proposes a range of solutions to overcome these barriers and proposes the establishment of a Technical Assistance Facility to build capacity among key stakeholders in partner countries and GEF agencies.