Economic Growth and Environmental Protection in Asia and the Pacific

Key Facts:

  • 60% of world's population lives in Asia and the Pacific.
  • The region's population density is 1.5 times higher than global average.
  • Ten of the World's 25 largest and fastest-growing cities are in Asia.
  • Urban population is projected to increase by 44 million annually over the next 20 years.
  • Air pollution in most cities exceeds the World Health Organization standard limits.
  • Indoor air pollution is high in most cities.
  • Net forest loss is 1.4 million hectares/year in the last 10 years.
  • Deforestation and other land use changes are responsible for 75% of total GHG emission in Southeast Asia.
  • About 70% of freshwater withdrawals in the region are for irrigation.
  • Demand for food in Asia is projected to increase by 40% by 2050.
  • The region accounts for 25% of the world GDP but consumes 50% of world's raw material consumption.

Economic growth that is environmentally sustainable can eliminate poverty, since many poor people depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. The poor are the most vulnerable to the impacts of a degraded environment. This report presents a snapshot of ADB’s strategy to support environmentally sustainable growth in Asia and the Pacific.

Introduction

The developing countries in Asia and the Pacific continue to experience an increasingly resource-intensive growth due to rapid urbanization, increasing consumption by a rising middle class, and the need for new infrastructure to sustain its high economic growth.

This growth has come at a high price; degraded natural resources and ecosystems, worsening water stress, increasing amount of hazardous waste. These problems have had an adverse effect on public health and human well-being. The poor being the hardest hit with increasing pressure on the environmental carrying capacity. Climate change is expected to exacerbating these problems.

Introduction

Environmental Assistance

Chapter 2 presents ADB’s performance with environmental sustainability as a theme. It discusses ADB practices to mainstream environment into country partnership strategies and to integrate safeguards into investment operations. It also presents an overview of its knowledge generation and sharing activities.

Chapter 2

Initiatives and Partnerships

ADB launched several initiatives to promote the expanded use of clean energy, encourage sustainable transport and urban development, and promote climate resilient development. Together these are the key elements of ADB’s climate change priorities. While many of these initiatives address problems at the regional level, they also aim to solve problems at the local level.

Chapter 3

Looking Forward

ADB will continue to help address some of the negative consequences of current growth patterns by improving environmental management in the region. Efforts in this area will seek to reconcile the quest for increasing GDP with the need to protect fragile renewable resources, a decline in environmental quality, and a diminishing base of non-renewable resources.

Chapter 4