At the 15th Meeting of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Eurostat, the International Resource Panel (IRP) and the UN Statistics Division (UNSD) presented a global manual entitled “The use of natural resources in the economy: A Global Manual on Economy Wide Material Flow Accounting”. The final document is launched today.

The Manual provides practical guidance on economy-wide material flows accounting (EW-MFA) and addresses various issues revolving around extraction-based economies, including the domestic extraction of materials, trade of materials, waste management, material footprint of consumption, among others.

It came at a critical time when many countries are in need of information and tools to track material use in their national economies in order to manage the risks related to resource depletion and misuse, as well as to develop resource-smart approaches to decouple their economic growth from environmental degradation.

With the IRP Global Material Flows Database used as a foundation, the Manual builds on the European MFA guidelines, and is in full consistency with the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Central Framework. It marks a critical milestone for the development of a global standard for EW-MFA, and provides information to assist countries in developing an EW-MFA system.

UNEP and the IRP will continue to help countries advance their understanding and efficient implementation of material flow accounting and analysis. This will raise policymakers’ awareness and empower them to make informed decisions in sustainable consumption and production policies, to evaluate progress, and to achieve decoupling.

The Manual can be accessed here.