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
 
China's 2015 Sustainable Consumption Week Aims to Green the World's Second Largest Private Consumer Market

Beijing, 8 August 2015 – The 2015 Sustainable Consumption Week kicked off in China today with the theme "Green Life, Consume with Wisdom", aiming to raise awareness about sustainable consumption, promote conscious purchasing decisions and create enabling policies for responsible consumption.

Holding the position of a global manufacturing hub, China is already the world's largest consumer of primary materials, such as fossil fuels and metal ores. But with increasing affluence and a rapidly growing middle class, it has also become the world's second largest private consumer market, with household expenditure growing from around US $554 billion in 2000 to over US $3.4 trillion in 2014 according to the World Bank.

China Sustainable Consumption Week aims to change the current consumption patterns, so that these trillions of dollars are spent on goods and services with lower resource and energy intensity. The adoption of sustainable practices and lifestyles in the world's second largest economy could have a positive environmental impact on a global scale.

Several recognizable Chinese and global brands have joined this effort, including GOME, Wal-Mart, Vanguard, IKEA and H&M. Overall, more than 600 chain stores all over the country will participate in the project. The activities for the week will focus on sustainable food sources, energy efficient appliances and eco friendly labeling.

The attractions prepared by organizers include media events, on-site demonstrations, educational quizzes on sustainable consumption and a Sustainable Seafood Festival. In addition to drawing public attention to eco-labels and sustainable brands, the week will also highlight China’s low carbon retail solutions and launch a Sustainable Seafood list.

By involving both consumers and businesses, China’s Sustainable Consumption Week aims to inspire more retailers to integrate sustainability into their business strategy, not only as part of their social responsibility activities, but as the core of their development planning.

Jointly organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN-China Sustainable Consumption Partnership, the China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA), the World Wildlife Fund China (WWF) and the China Sustainable Retailer Roundtable, the sustainable consumption week was inaugurated during a launch ceremony in Beijing, today.

China's sustainable consumption week taps into the success of this year's World Environment Day. Celebrated on 5 June under the theme 'Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care', it encouraged people to rethink their lifestyles and, through conscious consumer decisions, decrease humanity's collective impact on nature's resources.

FURTHER RESOURCES

www.unep.org/AsiaPacificIndicators

For further information, please contact:

Shereen Zorba, Head of UNEP News and Media, shereen.zorba@unep.org, +254 788 526000

Hao Chen, Public Information Officer, unepnewsdesk@unep.org, +254 20 762 3088


Pacific efficient light strategy will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate energy and financial savings

Nadi/Bangkok, 6 August 2015 – Representatives from nine Pacific Island countries are gathering today in Nadi, Fiji, to validate the first ever Pacific Efficient Lighting Strategy (PELS) for the region’s transition to high efficiency, environmentally-sound lighting by 2020. 

“By identifying concrete policy measures to be implemented, this new efficient lighting strategy holds the potential to reduce the region’s greenhouse gas emissions, while also decreasing dependence on petroleum imports and improving livelihoods,” the Deputy Director, Energy, of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Solomone Fifita, said.

By implementing the measures identified in the strategy, the region will reduce its electricity consumption for lighting by 36 per cent per year, save the region over US$ 1.7 billion by 2030, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4.6 million tonnes over the same time period. 

“This strategy contributes to the call for sustainable energy in Small Island Developing States, materialized in the 2014 SAMOA Pathway. It also demonstrates Pacific leadership towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals which will be adopted by the UN General Assembly in September, especially to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy,” said Isabelle Louis, Deputy Regional Director for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

The PELS Technical Validation workshop is the last of a series of regional consultations organised by SPC in collaboration with UNEP, through the UNEP – Global Environment Facility en.lighten initiative, with financial and technical support from the Australian Department of Industry and Science. 

 

The validated strategy will be submitted for approval to the Pacific Energy Advisors Group meeting in November this year, and then presented for political endorsement during the Regional Energy Officials meeting in July 2016 in Tonga.

 

The PELS Technical Validation workshop will be followed today and tomorrow by the regional steering committee meeting of the Pacific Appliance Labelling and Standards (PALS) programme.

 

Participation at the PELS and PALS meetings includes governments and administrations from Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Other development partners that are also in attendance include Energy Efficient Strategies Australia, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Pacific Power Association and the International Institute for Energy Conservation. 

 

Media contacts

Christina Hazelman, Research and Information Assistant, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, christinah@spc.int   or +679 3370733 ext: 35563

 

Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer, United Nations Environment Programme
satwant.kaur@unep.org


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


More News
Events

Regional Meeting to Review and Pilot Test a Resources and Information Toolkit to Enhance Scientifically Sound Decision-making on Hazardous Chemicals in Developing Countries, 3-5 August 2015, Bangkok
The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Rotterdam Convention, at its sixth meeting, requested the Secretariat to undertake activities to increase notifications of final regulatory action (FRA).  In view of this, the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and UNEP organize a regional consultation meeting to review and pilot test a toolkit aimed at assisting and enhancing the efforts by Designated National Authorities (DNAs), especially from developing countries, to take regulatory decisions on hazardous chemicals. A user friendly access to information resource and technical guidance to facilitate DNAs to undertake an initial review of chemicals for regulatory actions and implement pragmatic approaches to consider scientifically sound information for risk assessment and risk evaluation of chemicals should facilitate increased notifications of FRA by Parties.


Regional Forum on Climate Change Finance and Sustainable Development , 1-3 September, Jakarta, Indonesia
In partnership with the UNEP-UNDP Poverty and Environment, Sweden (SIDA), the United Kingdom (DFID), the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh, UNDP Climate Finance Team will host a two and half day regional forum on Climate Change Finance and Sustainable Development. The event will draw on the outcomes from the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa and focuses on policy choices, institutional reforms, and approaches to financing climate change responsesthat will deliver on the three pillars of sustainable development – environmental, social and economic.

The forum will bring together over a 100 participants including senior officials from Ministries of Finance, Planning, Environment, Social Welfare and Local Government, International Organizations, as well as practitioners and Civil Society Organizations from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Nepal, and Thailand.


Council Meeting of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, 22-24 September,  Apia, Samoa
The annual meeting of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme Officials, which will take place 22-24 September in Apia, Samoa will include a paper on strategic priorities of the UNEP Pacific Sub- Regional office and consider a Pacific resolution to the upcoming UN Environment Assembly in 2016. A side event will also provide an overview of the draft UNEP 2018-2021 Medium Term Strategy to facilitate comments from Pacific Island countries.


Annual Regional National Implementing Entities Helpdesk Workshop, 28-30 September, Bangkok, Thailand
This annual regional knowledge sharing workshop is part of the National Implementing Entities (NIEs) support programme and brings experts in climate finance, financing and supporting organizationsand  representatives from accredited NIEs to share their experience and lessons learnt on the accreditation process. Along with direct access to the Adaptation Fund, this workshop will also focus on the Green Climate Fund's direct access modality and accreditation process.


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