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Regional context and priorities


social information to address systemic challenges faced by governments, land and resource managers, businesses and the public. NCA integrates this information into an accounts framework that is regularly updated to track transactions, identify trade-offs and reveal choices. It also helps to track and evaluate policy implementation and will reveal many of the unintended consequences of addressing complex systemic challenges.


NCA is being implemented at three levels, national, ecosystem and enterprise. At national levels water, energy and pollution accounts can be used to understand and improve resource use efficiency, inform allocation of scarce resources, e.g. water, and reduce pollution. NCA Ecosystem accounts provide a framework that managers can use to identify and track all types of ecosystem services, including regulating, supporting and cultural services, where valuation is a challenge. Private sector early adopters are using NCA approaches to improve resource use efficiency, manage risks and reduce pollution


In the US, scientists and economists are working together to promote the establishment of NCA standards and methodologies by the central accounting system in the US government. Meanwhile, NCA and ecosystem service approaches are widely used in federal agencies.


For more information, see chapter 3.2.9 in the Policy Response chapter.


1.2.10 Adaptive governance


Adaptive governance approaches are continually responsive and iterative, with the flexibility to accommodate changing circumstances. Well-suited


to the “wickedness” of


environmental problems, adaptive governance is showing the potential to support transformative breakthroughs that once seemed elusive.


Adaptive governance approaches are being applied in North America and are experiencing real success. For example, Washington’s Skagit County is working to restore shellfish


In the US, public-private partnerships have shown how information can be assembled, analysed and used to inform policy responses and educate the public. Open data programmes such as open.canada.ca and data.gov are an increasingly popular way to find data and resources for research. Data collection tools, ranging from satellite imagery and novel sensors to smart meter technologies,


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in Samish Bay by applying the lean management principle. First applied in the private sector, lean management is a continuous improvement methodology used to engage teams of front-line staff to generate rapid responses and solutions. It is well-regarded for its ability to deliver improved speed, quality, and cost effectiveness.


For more information, see Section 3.3.1 as well as additional discussion throughout the the Policy Response chapter.


1.2.11 Environmental information and analytics: harnessing the data revolution


North America is in the midst of a renaissance in the application of data, information and analytics as powerful tools for managing environmental problems. This has in part been driven by the data revolution – the confluence of increasing processing power, falling costs and the widespread diffusion of data technology. But it goes beyond that, and it is triggering multiple pathways by which environmental problems are being managed more effectively. Big datasets that capture the complex nature of the environment and human behaviour can yield incredible scientific results. New ways of linking datasets to derive meaningful insights and creative techniques for visualizing data provide powerful information for decision-making. The rapid transformation of real time information on environmental systems can be a powerful tool for policy development.


North America has a long and rich history of using data effectively to act on environmental challenges. In this era of increased connectivity, advanced analytics and improved computing, it will be required more than ever to demonstrate leadership in creating value from analytics.


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