In the Asia Pacific, UN Environment works at the regional, sub-regional, and federal levels. There are five sub-regions: South Asia, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, and South Pacific.
Work is concentrated on the six cross-cutting thematic priorities of UN Environment:
Asia-Pacific is among the most vulnerable regions to climate change, and impacts are projected to become more intense in the future. It accounts for almost half of global greenhouse gas emissions. UN Environment helps nations face the challenge of adjusting to a dynamic climate at the same time as handling greenhouse gas emissions.
In the Asia Pacific, UN Environment focuses on:
- Improving understanding and sharing knowledge on science, policies and best practices
- Assessing technology needs and facilitating technology transfer for adaptation and mitigation
- Integrating climate change into national and sectoral systems and strategies
- Facilitating willingness for and access to finance
Disasters And Conflicts
The Asia Pacific is the most disaster-prone area on earth and home to some of the most delicate and conflict-affected countries in the world. At the UN environment, we consider healthy environments with robust ecosystems would be the buffers against natural disasters.
Unfortunately, development and growth have taken a toll on our natural environment and significantly weakened their ability to protect us against these natural hazards. In the Asia Pacific, reduce and UN Environment works with nations for innovative solutions to prevent and reduce risks brought on by human-made and natural disasters.
From coral reefs in the South Pacific to tropical forests in South East Asia, Asia Pacific is home to a vibrant spectrum of biodiversity on which several lives and resources depend. These natural ecosystems–and the biodiversity involved within– supply people in the area with flood protection, clean water, food, and opportunities for income and development. Unfortunately, rapid urbanization, population growth, and industrialization are eroding the region’s natural resource base, and with it, incur social and economic costs.
Safe and healthy societies only exist when we manage our environment responsibly. The Asia Pacific area is the most populous and fastest-growing area in the world. Meeting environmental responsibilities and attaining Sustainable Development Goals in this vibrant region needs well-crafted plans and regulations that are transparently implemented and enforced by strong institutions.
Chemicals and Waste
One million tonnes of dangerous waste produced every day in the Asia Pacific. The ocean is expected to include more plastics than fish by 2050. Chemical production in the region is projected to rise by 46 percent from 2012-2020.
Inadequate management of waste and chemicals can lead to illness, contaminate neighbourhoods, and reduce the productivity of the region. UN Environment supports investments, policy interventions, and institutional capacity-building for the quality management of waste and chemicals.
The Asia Pacific dominates the global use of resources and accounts for 63 percent of the world’s material consumption. This growth in resource use was primarily driven by the new infrastructure in cities, a growing consumer base with spending power, and global manufacturing centres in the region. While rapid economic growth has contributed to higher living standards, the area’s resource efficiency is diminishing. Given the weight that the Asia Pacific brings to resource usage worldwide, any change in Asia Pacific’s resource productivity will have meaningful global impacts.
Environment Under Review
Decision-making that promotes sustainable growth requires a sound comprehension of the complicated relationship between the economy, society, and the environment. UN Environment commits to eliminating gaps in scientific knowledge of underlying causes and consequences of environmental change and gives policy recommendations.
Due to gender inequalities, environmental challenges have different consequences on women, men, boys, and girls. As women render two-thirds of the poor in the country, their financial insecurity is part of a series of problems, usually caused by discrimination in employment and land ownership, along with limited access to resources.
Gender inequality is also becoming more apparent because of rapid urbanization. Despite economic growth, 373 million people in the Asia Pacific lived in poverty in 2014. Two-thirds of the poor in the region are women that are faced with ecological challenges.
- Indoor Pollution – Due to family responsibilities, women are disproportionately vulnerable to indoor air pollution
- Wage Gap – In Asia Pacific, women earn one-half to two-thirds of what men earn for the same work and are more frequently informally employed
- Lower Survival Rate – Women and children are more likely to die than men during crises. Climate change will worsen this condition.
6.5 million people die annually from exposure to poor air quality.
70 percent of air pollution-related deaths occur in the Asia Pacific.
Air pollution is an important environmental health disaster in the world. It’s responsible for over 6.5 million deaths annually, the majority of that — 70 percent – occurs in the Asia Pacific. In addition to health hazards, air pollution is a threat to the region’s food economy, and water security, and climate systems. This hinders the region’s attempts to develop sustainably and reduce poverty.
At the regional level, UN Environment supports the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development, held every five years. This is a collaborative effort between the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Asian Development Bank, and the UN Environment.
UN Environment co-chairs on the Thematic Working Group on Environment and Disaster Management with the office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and UNESCAP. The Thematic Working Group is a part of the Regional Coordination Mechanism. The Regional Director is a member of the UNDP Regional Directors’ Team.
UN Environment established the Sub-regional Environmental Policy Dialogue (SEPD), comprising chairs of each of the five sub-regional intergovernmental organizations and five civil society leaders. The SEPD meets yearly to address rising issues and give advice to UN Environment programmes in the region. It advises the UN Environment on enhanced global and regional delivery, as recognizing rising environmental concerns at the local level.
At the sub-regional level, UN Environment works to forge strong partnerships for active and collaborative environmental management.
It works with research organizations, intergovernmental bodies, environment ministries, international bodies. UN agencies, and Major Groups and Stakeholders to identify and address the common and trans-boundary issues. Following is a short description of countries and institutions where UN Environment works with sub-region.
The Northeast Asia sub-region includes five states: the Peoples’ Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Mongolia, and the Republic of Korea.
The North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation, the Northwest Pacific Action Plan, and the Greater Tumen Initiative.
The Southeast Asia subregion consists of eleven countries: Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.
There are two intergovernmental organizations, the Association of Southeast Asian Association and Mekong River Commission. It has an essential cooperative programme known as the Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperative Programme.
The South Asia subregion includes Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. There are three organizations: the South Asia Association for South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme, Regional Cooperation, and the International Centre. UN Environment has signed agreements with all three institutions and works actively in the sub-region.
The Pacific sub-region includes 21 Pacific Island Countries and Territories and has several regional offices, including intergovernmental groups.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme covers environment and sustainable development issues.
The South Pacific Applied Geosciences Commission concentrates on ocean management, non-living resources, hazard assessment, and geosciences.
The Council of Regional Organizations of the Pacific helps coordination amongst the ten local associations. UN Environment operates jointly with SPREP.
At the national level, UN Environment operates with Partners under the “Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building.”
To present well-organized and targeted capacity-building for integrated environmental evaluations and development plans on current and emerging issues.