Environmental sustainability is a prerequisite for economic growth and poverty reduction in Asia and the Pacific. ADB's long-term strategic framework for 2008-2020 (or Strategy 2020) identifies environmentally sustainable growth as a key strategic development agenda, and environment as a core area for support.

In the context of Strategy 2020 and in the follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), ADB prepared the Environment Operational Directions, 2013–2020, to provide a coherent overview of ADB environment operations and to articulate how it will step up efforts to help the region achieve a transition to environmentally sustainable growth or green growth.

To promote the transition to green growth, and address the causes and consequences of climate change, four mutually supportive environment operational directions have been identified:

  • Promoting a shift to sustainable infrastructure. Help developing member countries build infrastructure that contributes to environmentally sustainable and low-carbon development, as well as to increased resilience to climate change and other threats;
  • Investing in natural capital. Help reverse the ongoing decline of natural capital to ensure that environmental goods and services can sustain future economic growth and wellbeing, build climate resilience, and contribute to carbon sequestration;
  • Strengthening environmental governance and management capacity. Build sound environmental governance and management capacity for improved environmental and natural resource management including the strengthening of country systems and capacities for environmental safeguards;
  • Responding to the climate change imperative. Promote climate change response actions—both adaptation and mitigation—that will cut across the other three directions and be fully integrated within each.

Fast Facts:

In 2013, 57 projects amounting to $5.63 billion had environmental sustainability as a theme, representing 40% of total financing and 48% in number of projects.

ADB's clean energy investments in 2013 reached $2.34 billion. They will provide 1,390 megawatts of renewable energy generation capacity, save 1.987 terawatt-hours of electricity and 4,691 terajoules in fuel per year, and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 7.06 million tons carbon dioxide equivalent.

View a photo essay on sustainable business practices that protect the Heart of Borneo.

ADB’s first urban transport project, the Lanzhou bus rapid transit system, opened in the People’s Republic of China.

ADB continues to be a partner in various regional cooperation initiatives on the sustainable management of critical ecosystems in the Coral Triangle, the Greater Mekong Subregion, and the Heart of Borneo.

ADB supported activities that strengthened country safeguard systems in 15 DMCs and, ADB worked with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network and the Asian Judges Network on Environment to strengthen environmental compliance in the region.

Four new Global Environment Facility (GEF) grants were approved in 2013. Under an ADB-led sustainable transport and urban development program, the GEF approved a $2.5 million grant for sustainable transport in Jiangxi Province, and a $9 million grant for a coral reef rehabilitation and management program in Indonesia.