Friday, October 26, 2007


    Bangkok, Oct. 26, 2007 (ANTARA) - The United Environment Program (UNEP) in its comprehensive report called '4th Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4): Environment for Development' says that ecosystems and human health in Asia and the Pacific continue to deteriorate, while population growth and rapid economic development have driven significant environmental degradation and loss of natural resources.
      "The world as a whole is living far beyond its means. The human population is now so  large that the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available. Humanity's footprint (its environmental demand) is 21.9 hectares per person, while the Earth's biological capacity is, on average, only 15.7 ha/person.." according to GEO-4 report, which was simultaneously launched in 40 cities, including in Bangkok on Friday.

      UNEP's Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific region Surendra Shrestha when officially launched the GEO-4 report in Bangkok said that the launching was coinciding with the 20th anniversary of 'Our Common Future' report produced by the World Commission on Environment and Development or the Brundtland Commission in 1987.
      GEO-4 said the well-being of billions of people in the developing world is at risk, because of a failure to remedy the relatively simple problems which have been successfully tacked elsewhere.
      One of the major obstacles to establishing an effective system of environmental management is the fact that environmental and economic policies have not been fully integrated, according to the 540-page report compiled by 388 authors including researchers and scientists from various countries.
      Among serious environmental problems facing the Asia-Pacific region included urban air pollution, fresh water stress, agricultural  land use which could threaten food security, and increased waste.
     However, the report also recognizes the region's achievements in protecting its environment, key to tackling poverty and in increasing nature protected areas.         
      GEO-4 describes the global challenges since 1987 and assesses the current state of global atmosphere, land, water, and biodiversity. It also identifies priorities for action.
      "There are no major issues raised in 'Our Common Future' for which the foreseeable trends are favorable." But the report insists that "the objective is not to present a dark and gloomy scenario, but an urgent call for more stringent action."
      The report is the first GEO report which emphasizes the potential impacts of climate change in all seven of the world's regions. For the Asia and Pacific region, the impacts of climate change would include more  severe droughts and floods, as well as soil degradation, coastal inundation and salt water intrusion caused by sea level rise. Agricultural productivity is likely to decline substantially because of warmer temperatures and shifting rainfall, it said.
     On air quality, according to GEO-4, the region's growing energy needs and the "exploding" growth in motor vehicles are causing serious damage, with haze pollution from forest fires in South East Asia making matters worse.
    Since 1987, Asia and the Pacific has become the world's fastest developing region, imposing enormous pressures on its ecosystems, such as mangrove forests and coral reefs, it said.
    "Our common future depends on our actions today, not tomorrow or some time in the future," according to GEO-4.
(T. F001/A/a014)          

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