Integrating the value of nature into our economies

Integrating the Value of Nature into Our Economies

From coral reefs in the South Pacific to tropical forests in the South East Asia, Asia Pacific is home to a rich spectrum of biodiversity on which many lives and livelihoods depend. These natural ecosystems--and the biodiversity contained within--provide people in the region with food, clean water, flood protection and opportunities for income and development. Unfortunately, population growth, rapid industrialization and urbanization are eroding the region’s natural resource base, and with it, incur social and economic costs.

Asia Pacific holds:

  • 20% of the world's biodiversity
  • 14% of the world's tropical forests
  • 34% of the world's coral reef.

What we are doing

With partners, UN Environment works to realign economic development priorities and financing to curb environmental degradation and economic losses from declining biodiversity and habitats and supports efforts towards going green.

Mainstreaming biodiversity in production landscapes and seascapes

We help countries protect genetic diversity of important agriculture crops, develop and apply voluntary certification programmes, introduce market based instruments, promote eco-friendly approaches in industry and economies, and prevent and manage invasive alien species.

Strengthening management of Protected Areas and landscapes

Protected areas are not always adequately protected in a landscape context. We support countries to strengthen governance, financing, and management of protected areas. Additionally, we encourage investments in forest restoration, smallholder production, and green infrastructure.

Enhancing ocean governance and tackling marine pollution

We work through the East Asian Seas and North West Pacific Action Plans to advance intergovernmental collaboration to tackle marine pollution and habitat conservation and management.

60 to 70% of plastic in the ocean comes from Asia Pacific.

Conserving species and combatting wildlife crimes

We help governments to conserve species and tackle wildlife crime by raising awareness, facilitating cooperation, engaging in policy dialogues and encouraging innovation and technology for species conservation, particularly for iconic and endangered species like the dugong and more.

Integrating the value of nature and taking the green economy approach

We facilitate the adoption of Green Growth practices and Natural Capital investments in key economic sectors and the integration of Natural Capital values in private sector investments and decisions.

Implementing international agreements

We support countries meet their obligations in landmark biodiversity conventions such the Convention on Biological Diversity, and more specifically the implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and the Nagoya Protocol.

  • National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans - Under the Convention of Biological Diversity, participating countries are required to develop a nationwide plan to preserve and protect its biological diversity and ecosystems.
  • The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing - The Nagoya Protocol is an international agreement which helps ensure that the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources are shared in a fair and equitable way.

Mainstreaming gender into conservation

Women are often disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and are their role in biodiversity conservation is often downplayed. Our regional office understands that and we make gender equality in biodiversity planning and management a priority.

Partnerships for concerted action

We team up with sub-regional bodies, such as ASEAN, South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, to facilitate dialogue and catalyze actions to address trans-boundary issues. Our Global Environment Facility funding partnership has a portfolio value of US$ 600 million in biodiversity, land and water management initiatives.

Our signature projects

  • Green Fins - Green Fins is a public-private partnership to reduce environment impact of recreational diving and snorkeling, engaging over 500 scuba diving companies in the region.
  • Forest Certification for Ecosystem Services - The Forest Certification for Ecosystem Services strengthens the business case for sustainable forest management through certification programmes.
  • Global Coral Reef Partnership - This project supports the provision of sound data on coral reef status and trends, climate change vulnerability, ecosystem service values.
  • Removing Barriers to Invasive Species Management in Production and Protection Forests in Southeast Asia - This initiative looks to reduce the impacts of invasive species on natural and man-made production systems.

South China Sea Strategic Action Programme Implementation

In partnership with the coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia, this initiative assists countries with the management of mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass and wetlands, and strengthen regional coordination.

Strengthening Forest and Ecosystem Connectivity in the RIMBA Corridor in Central Sumatra

This project supports the promotions of green growth practices and Natural Capital investments in local government operations.

Regional Marine Litter Initiative Regional Marine Litter Initiative.

We support countries to tackle marine litter problems through regional cooperation.