Natural Capital forum: better data for better decisions

The 2022 World Bank's Policy Forum on Natural Capital Data for Better Decision Making brought together more than 600 policymakers, investors and data providers to discuss how to use data on natural capital for investment and policy decisions. IIED worked with the organisers to design the programme and report on the key outcomes.

November - December 2022
Paul Steele

Chief economist, Shaping Sustainable Markets

Inclusive green economy
A programme of work on increasing equity, access and agency in the green economy
Head and shoulders photo of four people in a videocall

Opening session of the 6th Policy Forum on Natural Capital: Financing for Nature (Photo: IIED)

Global economic activity depends on natural capital – the world’s natural assets such as soil, air, water and all living things.

Humans exploit natural capital for a wide range of services. But government and business accounting practices often don't include natural capital assets in their balance sheets –  as a result, natural assets are undervalued and poorly protected, and the damage to nature is accelerating, and with it, the risks to the global economy.

The World Bank's Global Program on Sustainability aims to help countries integrate sustainability considerations into policy by providing high-quality data on natural resources and ecosystem services. The policy form is the signature event of the programme.

The 6th Natural Capital policy forum, held on November 2 and 3, 2022, had the theme 'Financing for nature' and focused on linking natural capital and ecosystem services data into investment and policy decisions. The aim was to connect data users – the investment community and policymakers – with data producers.

Speakers included government ministers, investment managers and data specialists. It was co-organised with the United Nations Statistics Division.

What did IIED do?

IIED chief economist Paul Steele worked with the forum organisers to design the event and introduced the online sessions of the conference.

IIED also scripted and edited videos of each of the sessions, and prepared a feature article reporting on the forum.


Organisers identified four critical actions needed to fill the nature finance gap:

  • Improve data and analytics to reflect the needs of both public and private actors
  • Leverage finance for both nature and climate goals
  • Disclose how operations affect nature and track better, and
  • Support regulators, finance ministries and industry associations to incorporate nature risks into decision-making.