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GEO Year Book 2004/5  
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Asia and the Pacific


In 2004, Asia and the Pacific was struck by a massive tsunami (see Indian Ocean Tsunami section) in addition to serious environmental challenges ranging from air pollution and management of toxic wastes, to problems of freshwater and biodiversity. There were also positive policy developments in addressing priority issues through sub-regional cooperation.

Key Facts

  • The Asia and Pacific region extends over a total land area of 34.6 million km2, 45 per cent of which is classified as deserts and dryland.
  • With 15 per cent of the world's land surface area, Asia and the Pacific receives 22 per cent of global precipitation and has 28 per cent of internal renewable water resources. However, as the region is home to more than half of the world's population, the amount of water resources per inhabitant is around half the world average.
  • Development is disparate across the region. Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and Singapore figure in the list of high Human Development Index (HDI) countries in 2004, while Pakistan and East Timor were among the low HDI countries.
  • In 2004, the urban population was 41 per cent of the total. The rate of urbanization was increasing at 2.4 per cent per annum.
  • With a population of 3 600 million, this is also the most populous area in the world. Growing at 1.1 per cent a year, the population is projected to reach 4 690 million by 2025.
  • In 2002 almost 18 per cent of the Asian population was living on less than US$1 a day, and 49 per cent was living on less than US$2 a day.

Source: ADB 2004, FAO 2004a and b, UNDP 2004a, UNESCAP 2004


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