Asia-Pacific countries paying heavy price for 'grow now, clean up later' policy, UN says

Asia-Pacific countries paying heavy price for 'grow now, clean up later' policy, UN says

Countries in Asia and the Pacific are paying heavily for a "grow now, clean up later" environmental policy, resulting in major ecological problems, including shrinking forests, widespread land degradation and an overall increase in pollution, according to a new United Nations study.

The study, conducted jointly by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), says that Asian countries have failed to effectively integrate sustainable development concerns into national policy-making, leading to a marked deterioration in environmental conditions in the region.

Speaking at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, ESCAP Executive Secretary Kim Hak-Su told delegates that despite the introduction of environmental standards and various regulatory measures, many countries in the region have failed to improve their environments "due to lack of integrated policies and coordinated approach."

ESCAP was offering its technical expertise and assistance to ensure meaningful and active implementation of the Summit's outcome, Mr. Kim said, noting that it was "strategically placed and prepared to take the regional initiatives for the development of robust and lasting partnerships."

Last November, governments in the ESCAP region reached agreement on seven key initiatives, known as the Phnom Penh Regional Platform on Sustainable Development for Asia and the Pacific.

The initiatives include capacity building for sustainable development, poverty reduction and cleaner production and sustainable energy. Countries also agreed on measures dealing with land management and biodiversity conservation, protection and management of, and access to freshwater resources, oceans, coastal and marine resources and sustainable development of small island States, and action on atmosphere and climate change.