Asia-Pacific Cannot Afford to Grow Without Addressing Environmental Concerns

kristy Green Prosperity, SRI/ESG News, Beyond GDP

— UN New York, May 10 2012 9:05AM Countries in the Asia-Pacific region
must find ways to continue to grow economically and lift millions out of
poverty while also responding to climate change and environmental concerns,
according to a United Nations report released today, which stresses that new
methods of production are needed to meet this goal.

“The world’s common future will be hugely affected by the choices that are
made in Asia and the Pacific on a low carbon growth path,” the UN
Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific,
Ajay Chhibber, said in relation to the report. “The goal is clear: reduce
poverty, increase prosperity, but leave a smaller carbon footprint.”

UNDP’s Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2012 argues that policies and
actions in the region will have a global impact as it is home to more than
half of the world’s population and half of the planet’s megac ities.

However, it stresses that countries in the region will need to change to
change the way they manufacture goods, raise crops and livestock, and
generate energy; shifting to greener, more resilient, lower-emission options
that sustain the environment and offer employment opportunities for the

“Countries of the developing Asia-Pacific are much less locked into the old,
carbon-intensive ways of production and consumption. Asia-Pacific not only
has the imperative, it also has the opportunity to manage development
differently,” the report states.

To be able to shift to a greener economy, the report emphasizes that there
must be a change in the region’s energy production industry and agricultural
practices. Currently, around 85 per cent of the region’s primary energy
comes from fossil fuels in the form of coal, natural gas and oil; and its
accounts for 37 per cent of the world’s emissions from agricultural
production, including through growing crops and raising livestock, la nd use
changes and deforestation.

Income disparity is also a key issue highlighted by the report. While there
are more than 2.5 billion mobile phone subscriptions, only half of the
region’s population –1.9 billion people — lack basic services, such as
access to flush toilets. It says that closing this gap will put pressure on
the region’s natural resources, which will require implementation of
sustainable measures.

The Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2012, which aims to reinvigorate
the dialogue on climate change by bringing people’s concerns into the fore
in the lead-up to the UN Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20),
provides a series of recommendations for a lower-carbon development path.

These recommendations include increasing the use of greener agriculture,
supporting cleaner energy generation, and providing access to modern
services such as electricity and cleaner cooking fuels to the rural poor. In
addition, the report stresses that a greater awareness and ed ucation among
citizens about sustainable measures can have a significant impact in
innovation and the creation of sustainable jobs for youth.

For more details go to UN News Centre at