Poverty, Health, and Ecosystems: Experience from Asia | Asian Development Bank

Poverty, Health, and Ecosystems: Experience from Asia

Publication | December 2008
Poverty, Health, and Ecosystems: Experience from Asia

This publication, a joint undertaking of ADB and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is meant to increase knowledge on the complex relationships between poverty, health, and ecosystems in Asia and the Pacific.

For many of the millions of rural Asians who still live in poverty, ecosystems and the natural resources associated with them are essential to daily health and well-being. It is also the poor - especially women and children - who have the most at stake when ecosystems degrade. They suffer disproportionately from the health risks caused by inadequate or dirty water and polluted air and bear the burden of collecting the resources used daily, such as water and fuelwood. This special vulnerability extends to risks from natural disasters - they are the most exposed to initial impacts and the least able to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of such events.

The case studies presented in this publication highlight the challenges faced by these poor and, often, resource-dependent households across Asia. They include analyses of pressures facing agricultural systems in the People's Republic of China (PRC), India, and Pakistan. They also cover examples of links between freshwater or marine aquatic ecosystems and those in Bangladesh, PRC, India, Lao People's Democratic Republic, and Sri Lanka, who depend upon them. Grassland ecosystems provide pastures for livestock, and a case from Mongolia examines these relationships, while cases from Nepal and the PRC document how the poor rely on forests for fodder, medicines, fuelwood, and other products.


  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Examining the Relationships between Poverty, Health, and Ecosystems in Rural Asia
  • Poverty, Livelihoods, and Ecosystems
  • Poverty, Health, and Ecosystems
  • Poverty and Biodversity
  • Response Strategies
  • Poverty, Health, Governance, and Ecosystems: A Synthesis of Case Study Findings
  • Appendixes
  • References