10.7.3 Compliance with and governance of Multilateral Environmental Agreements
Many countries in Asia are signatories to one or more of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) that seek to address common concerns such as biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management, climate change, international water resources, over-exploitation of regional fisheries, trans-boundary air pollution, and pollution of regional seas. Some of these MEAs include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Ramsar Convention to protect Mangroves and Wetlands, the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols to address problems of the breakdown in the Earth’s protective ozone layer and global warming, International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) that governs the exploitation of tropical forests and conservation of biodiversity, and International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships for control of pollution of regional seas. The major challenge for Asian countries is how to take advantage of opportunities in designing integrated and synergistic responses in adherence to and compliance with the terms and conditions of MEAs and improve environmental quality without unduly hampering economic development (Beg et al., 2002).
10.7.4 Conservation of natural resources
Natural resources utilisation could intensify in several parts of Asia in response to increasing demands. In South-East Asia, intensification of forest utilisation could likely increase further the already high rate of deforestation that could lead to the loss of much of its original forests and biodiversity by 2100 (Sodhi et al., 2004). To sustain development in this region, measures to minimise deforestation and enhance restoration of degraded forests will be required. The challenge in Asia will be in countries with developing economies where the need to maximise production could lead to increased perturbations of the ecosystems and the environment that could be aggravated by climate change. In the same manner, the use of water will continue to increase as the population and economies of countries grow. This will likely put more stress on water that could be exacerbated by climate change as discussed above. Integrated responses to cope with the impacts of climate change and other stressors on the supply and demand side will likely contribute in the attainment of sustainable development in many countries in the West, South and South-East Asia.