Environmental and natural capital

 Boats strewn around the dry empty bed of Hamoun Wetlands in Iran. In twenty years, the demand for water to feed agriculture, development of dams, canals and reservoirs drew off water from the once abundant lake and wetlands. This man-made environmental catastrophe has forced thousands to leave the region. Photo: UNDP Iran

One of the region’s greatest challenges is sustaining economic growth and progress on human development while achieving environmental sustainability. The region is home to 53 percent of the world's population and some of the world's fastest-growing economies. From the snows of the high Himalayas to the depths of the Mariana trench, from forest to tundra, alpine meadows to mangroves, it also contains spectacular ecosystems and rich natural assets. But current patterns of development risk depleting natural resources and damaging these vital ecosystems and the services on which we all rely: data show that water scarcity is increasing and tropical forests are shrinking. Chemical pollution that degrades land, water and air quality also poses a challenge to sustainable human development in the region.

The combined pressures of economic growth, rapid industrialization and urbanization, pollution and increasing demand for natural resources make more inclusive and green economic development imperative for the region.

UNDP strengthens national capacity to address these challenges in Asia and the Pacific at the local, national and regional levels. We support countries to preserve and sustainably use natural assets for achieving sustainable development outcomes and shift to lower-carbon pathways.  



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