ADB's Focus on Environment
In the Spotlight
Asia and the Pacific are exceptionally exposed to climate change. ADB's report presents the latest regional projections and a comprehensive assessment of the potential impact on agriculture, marine ecosystems, human health, urban areas, security, migration, and trade.
More investments in infrastructure are needed to support continued growth in Asia and the Pacific and combat climate change, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said in his opening address at the 50th Annual Meeting of ADB’s Board of Governors.
ADB will establish a trust fund to promote the integration of high-level technology (HLT) and innovative solutions in the design and implementation of its projects in Asia and the Pacific. The Government of Japan will be the first donor to the fund.
Access to finance and expertise is helping fisher folk, cocoa farmers, and others in Indonesia's Aceh and North Sumatra link to major markets for their products.
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.