ADB's Focus on Environment
In the Spotlight
Young Rubysol Blasé, known to friends and family as Beetle, tells the story of how in Barangay Katipunan, a small village on Siargao Island in the Philippines, the entire community comes together to decide on what they need to protect and improve the environment they live in.
Kebin He, Dean of the Tsinghua School of Environment, explains that low-carbon and low-pollution policies combined are the most cost-effective way to improve air quality in crowded cities and comply with the Paris Climate Change Agreement pledges.
Beating plastic pollution is an important step in preventing environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, strengthening food security, and reducing negative health impacts. (Photo credit: UNEP)
ADB signed facilities of a total of $250 million in loans to Arctic Green Energy Corporation and Sinopec Green Energy Geothermal Company Limited to expand environmentally sustainable district heating services in the People's Republic of China.
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.
While economies in Asia and the Pacific continue to grow, the natural environment is under increasing pressure. Major ecosystems are under threat. Loss of biodiversity is massive as life support systems on land and in the oceans are being degraded. The region is the fastest growing source of new greenhouse gas emissions in the world; several countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. Cities in Asia are growing at an unprecedented pace, with 44 million added to city populations every year. The resulting congestion, waste, pollution, and associated health impacts remain key challenges in sustaining urban development.
Critical thresholds or “tipping points” may be approaching, beyond which the environment could enter a new state where significant changes would become accelerated, unpredictable, and irreversible. In addition, the gap between the demand for natural resources and the environment’s ability to replenish those resources, or its biocapacity, is widening. In Asia and the Pacific, this gap has important economic and social implications as environmental damage has started to threaten prospects for continued economic growth and poverty reduction. Maintaining natural capital must therefore be a crucial goal for countries.
Given these concerns, the concept of green growth or environmentally sustainable growth has gained increasing attention. Green growth has great potential to provide a clear and focused policy agenda to pursue sustainable economic growth, while improving resilience to climate change and other shocks, and preventing environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and unsustainable natural resource use.