United Nations Environment Programme environment for development
Regional Work

Climate Change
 Asia Pacific is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change and impacts are likely to become more intense in future. Rising temperatures and extreme weather events have contributed to loss of crop yield in many countries. Crop yields are projected to decline by a further 10 percent by 2020. More

Disasters and Conflicts
Nearly half of the world's natural disasters occur in the Asia and the Pacific region. In 2008 alone, the region accounted for more than half of the 220 major disasters that took place, which affected more than 55 million people and resulted in 7,000 deaths and US$15 billion in damages. More

Ecosystem Management
The Asia Pacific region boasts a high level of biological and cultural diversity which has greatly shaped its history and economic activities. While the region occupies less than 10 per cent of the planet's total surface, it is home to more than half of the world's human population and some of the most diverse plant and animal species in the world. More

Environmental Governance
While there has been significant progress in the last decade in the development of environmental institutions and legislation, the region's burgeoning economic growth and growing population have taken a toll on its natural resource base and the environment. More

Chemicals and Waste
In Asia Pacific, harmful and hazardous waste threatens millions of people. Left unchecked, these wastes could pose severe hazards. Asia's high population density and often tropical climate put it especially at risk for contamination. Regulations have increased but enforcement remains inadequate. More

Resource Efficiency
Most of the global growth in resource use has occurred in high-income Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, but recently the Asia and the Pacific region has emerged as a major global resource consumer and has surpassed the rest of world in material use. More

Environment Under Review

Rapid economic growth in recent years in Asia and the Pacific region has come at an enormous environmental cost. Appropriate environmental safeguards are urgently needed to contain this trend. Decision-making that promotes sustainable development requires a sound understanding of the complex relationship between the environment and social and economic development. More

Regional News
 
New Policy Guide Offers Solutions for Asia’s Sustainable Consumption and Production Challenges

Bangkok, 18 June 2015 – Prosperity need not cost the earth – literally – according to a new handbook that was released today, which offers guidance to Asian policy makers on ways to sustainably manage the region’s fast-growing appetite for natural resources without affecting their countries’ ability to meet essential consumption needs.

According to the guide, produced jointly by UNEP and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), the region will account for 48 per cent of global consumption by 2030, with consumer spending likely to reach US$32 trillion. 

 “Informing consumers in Asia about the implications of their consumption decisions and helping provide them with sustainable options will help the region maintain quality growth without undermining future development.  This guide provides solutions and policy approaches to make sustainable consumption a reality,” said Kaveh Zahedi, Regional Director of the UNEP Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific.

The new guide offers policy makers an overview of thematic solutions to sustainable production and consumption challenges. It also debunks common myths such as ‘Sustainable Consumption is incompatible with Poverty Eradication’ and ‘Informed Consumers will Consume Sustainably’ and explores how sustainable consumption, traditionally part of Asian culture, is being side-lined.

“Understanding sustainable production and consumption is a vital step to designing policies towards sustainable development. There is a dichotomy in Asian countries where, on the one hand, material consumption by a growing consumer class mirrors patterns in affluent industrialised countries.  On the other hand, poverty blights marginalised areas of cities and limits opportunities for well-being in villages," said Lewis Akenji, Senior IGES Policy Fellow and lead author of the handbook. 

Consumption driven by choice as opposed to need is expected to increase substantially in Asia as higher incomes raise demand for material possessions.  Pointing out that ‘consumption’ should not be confused with ‘consumerism’, the handbook notes that under-consumption by the poor is as unsustainable as high consumption driven by rapidly growing affluence in the region.

The handbook, Sustainable Consumption Guide for Policy Makers: Debunking Myths and Outlining Solutions (Asia Edition), is available at http://www.unep.org/roap/Activities/ResourceEfficiency/SustainableConsumptionGuideforPolicyMakersD/tabid/1060318/Default.aspx

For more information please contact: Ms. Satwant Kaur, Tel. +662 2882127, Mobile: +66 81 7001376, Email: satwant.kaur@unep.org


Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and UNEP celebrate World Environment Day with the participation of the Prime Minister of Thailand


(Thailand Prime Minister H.E. General Prayuth Chan-o-cha (left) and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment H.E. Mr Dapong Rattanasuwan (right) with Kaveh Zahedi, UNEP Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific (center) and ROAP staff at Thai-UNEP WED celebration 2015.)


Bangkok, 15 June 2015 - Thailand’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MoNRE) in collaboration with UNEP, commemorated World Environment Day (WED) today at a star-studded event in Bangkok. The celebration included a major exhibition on environmental goods and services and an award ceremony recognizing outstanding environmental work by local governments, the private sector, women’s groups and department stores.

The exhibition featured WED messages from Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, H.E. General Dapong Ratanasuwan, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand, as well as Thai celebrities, including artist Suthipongse Thatphithakkul, news reporter Kitti Singhapat, actor Krittamed Muangdee, writer Zcongklod Bangyikhan, actress Ms. Siraphun Wattanajinda, Natalie Glebova, Miss Universe 2005, singer/songwriter Thanakit Panichwid, and environmental campaigner, Thanaboon Somboon . During the event, a memorandum of understanding was signed by MoNRE and retail outlets in Bangkok for a “No Plastic Bag Campaign”.

“It is through socialization at homes and schools that children learn responsible behavior. We need to inculcate good values to attain sustainable consumption, that all of us are responsible for a clean and health environment. We cannot only depend on authorities or governments, we all have a responsibility for a clean and health environment. Protecting the environment is every citizen's responsibility. We are part of the 7 billion and our children too,” said H.E. Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of Thailand at the opening ceremony.

More than 200 participants, including Ambassadors, Chief Operating Officers of malls and distribution outlets, recycling companies, teachers, students and members of the public participated at the event and exhibition. 


Musician and Environmentalist Jack Johnson Designated UNEP Goodwill Ambassador on World Environment Day 2015

Eleuthera, The Bahamas, 5 June 2015 - Jack Johnson, the multi-platinum recording artist, widely acclaimed for his environmental work, was appointed United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassador today, during a ceremony on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera.

The designation was one of the highlights of the 2015 World Environment Day (WED) - the United Nations' principal vehicle for raising worldwide awareness and encouraging action for the environment, celebrated in more than 100 countries.

This year's WED - held under the slogan 'Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care' - focuses on the theme of sustainable consumption as a means to achieve equitable and inclusive development while minimizing the overexploitation of natural resources and adverse environmental impacts.

Through WED, UNEP encourages everyone to rethink their consumption habits and invites people to share their dreams for a future they want and to pledge individual actions to make those dreams reality.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, said, "Jack Johnson is an inspirational artist and committed environmentalist. His millions of fans around the world form part of a unique network that engages with environmental non-profits at each of his tour stops; encouraging communities to work together to address environmental issues from promoting the consumption of sustainably produced local food to plastic free initiatives. His efforts to green the music industry are unprecedented, and ones we wholeheartedly endorse"

"I am grateful and excited to welcome Mr. Johnson as UNEP's Goodwill Ambassador, confident that he will inspire positive action on the environment at this important juncture as the world prepares to embrace a new set of sustainable development goals and reach an agreement on climate change by the year's end," he added.

"Becoming a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador is an honor for me," said Mr. Johnson, speaking of his new role. "In Hawai`i, when we work together we say Laulima, which means "many hands." It is always impressive to see what can be accomplished when you build the right team and get all those hands working together. I see this relationship with UNEP as a way to reach and inspire more people to be active in their local communities, as well as a way for me to learn more about environmental issues around the world," he added.

Since 2001, Jack Johnson has released 6 studio albums and 2 live albums that have sold over 20 million copies worldwide. His Brushfire Records label and touring crew have been leaders in the greening of the music industry and his All At Once social action network has mobilized millions of young people to become active in environmental protection. Mr. Johnson, with his wife Kim, founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation to support environmental education in Hawaii's schools and communities, as well as the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation to support environmental, art and music education worldwide. Mr. Johnson's donations of tour and album profits, along with his personal charitable activities, have resulted in over $30 million US directed to charity since 2001.

In his role as UNEP's Goodwill Ambassador Jack Johnson will help to generate interest and mobilize positive action for environmental causes in support of UNEP's work. He will focus particularly on issues such as marine litter and promoting sustainable food systems and plastic free initiatives.

Among other activities, he will support the Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint initiative. Launched in 2013 by UNEP, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO) and partners from public and private sectors, the campaign draws attention both to the issue and the absurdity of high volumes of perfectly edible produce never making it from the farm to the fork. According to a 2013 FAO study, at least a third of all food produced on the planet is lost or wasted, representing an ethical, economic and environmental issue. Think.Eat.Save increases awareness of this contemptible waste and catalyses action to prevent it among all sectors of the society, including through exchange of inspiring ideas and projects

Marine litter will be another focus of Mr. Johnson's activities on behalf of UNEP. In 2014 UNEP and partners launched a major report , which estimated that each year as much as 20 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world's oceans, costing at least US$13 billion annually in environmental damage to marine ecosystems. The report valued the overall natural capital cost of plastic use in the consumer goods industry at US$75 billion and made recommendations for better management and disclosure of plastic use in the sector. Through the Global Partnership on Marine Litter and other relevant initiatives, UNEP works to reduce the influx of waste into the ocean and to prevent plastic from getting into the environment in general.

Jack Johnson's designation took place during the 5 Gyres SEA Change Youth Summit, jointly organized by 5 Gyres, The Island School, Cape Eleuthra Institute, Jack Johnson and All At Once, with opening day activities slated for World Environment Day 2015. The Summit brings together activists, artists, filmmakers, scientists, educators and youth to explore how island nations will deal with plastic pollution in the 21st century and to develop community action projects to raise awareness about local plastic free solutions. It also serves as a kick off for Leg 2 of the 5 Gyres SEA Change sailing expedition, which Mr. Johnson is joining, and which will conduct and build on the global research on plastic pollution in the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre.

Immediately following the designation ceremony, and in celebration of World Environment Day, Johnson joined UNEP Director Naysán Sahba, and students from the Youth Summit in removing plastics and marine debris from a local beach. The plastic trash collected on the beach, will be transformed into recycled artwork by the students.

Notes to Editors:

About WED 2015

World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations' campaign for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the people's day for doing something positive for the environment, inspiring individual actions and galvanizing them into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet. WED celebrations culminate on 5th June every year. The global host of WED this year is Italy and the main celebrations will take place in Milan, at the Expo Milano 2015. Elsewhere, Japan is organising a seminar in Osaka, targeting the private sector; France has organised a stand for the United Nations, in which information will be provided on climate change and the upcoming Paris climate conference (COP21), as well as on sustainable consumption; Brazil will hold a whole week of various activities to promote sustainable consumption from 31st May to 6thJune; and Cote d'Ivoire plan to have a mobile marketing truck passing through 3 cities and focusing on consumption patterns in the visited areas. More planned activities are available on the WED website -unep.org/wed

For more information, please contact:

Michal Szymanski, UNEP News & Media, michal.szymanski@unep.org or +254 715 876 185 (Kenya)

Laura Fuller, Information Officer, UNEP Regional Office for North America, +1 202 974-1305 (US), laura.fuller@unep.org

Brittany Pearce, Fresh and Clean Media, brittany@freshcleanmedia.com, +1 310 313 7200 (US)


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