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Development Policies and the Environment: Using Environmental Accounts for Better Decision Making

Year of publication2005
Co-authorsC. Costantino, F. Falcitelli, A. Femia, A. Pennisi, A. Tudini
Publisher(s)Public Investment Evaluation Unit
Department for Development and Cohesion Policies – Ministry of Economy and Finance
R.  Cervigni
Thanks to the use of standardize methodologies and the simultaneous presentation of economic and environmental data within an integrated framework consistent with national accounts, Environmental Accounting allows detailed and systematic analyses of the interaction between the economy and the environment. This type of information can become a valuable tool to support territorial development policies, especially if it is made available at the regional level. The purpose of the paper is to identify ways in which environmental accounting can improve the design, monitoring and evaluation of development policies and to highlight the value-added of this type of data, in comparison to other sources of information on the environment. Indicators derived from environmental accounts can help decision-makers choose which territories, economic activities and sectors of the environment should be supported and to what extent, by providing a quantified measure of the existing trade-offs between variables. A conceptual framework on the use of environmental accounts for development policies, is followed by remarks on the priorities for further improvement of the accounts at various territorial levels. The development of a pilot set of regional aggregates is foreseen in the short term within this project. The methodological results as well as the pilot applications can provide relevant indications for the design of development policies.