The Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2012
Asia-Pacific not only has many of the world’s most climate-exposed territories, it is also home to millions of the most vulnerable people. The unprecedented pace and scale of human activities have been transforming the natural environment and contributing to climate change. Emissions cross borders, and so do some of the most affected natural systems, such as glaciers, coral reefs and mangroves. Some of these natural systems that act as natural buffers to the impacts of climate change are increasingly at risk of deterioration and destruction, posing a serious challenge to people’s lives in the region.
While the most vulnerable people have contributed little to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, they will face some of the most serious consequences. They are not just highly exposed and sensitive to climate events, but also lack adequate adaptive capacity. Unlike the developed countries of today, in a time of climate change, growing first and cleaning up later is no longer an option.
- Asia and the Pacific hosts more than half of the world’s population, including nearly 900 million of the world’s poor, and 30 per cent of the global land mass;
- This densely-populated region also accounts for a large share of the developing world’s deprived people: more than 70 per cent of people lacking access to basic sanitation, 67 per cent of the extreme poor (living below $1.25/day);
- The share of Asia-Pacific developing countries in global greenhouse gas emissions increased from 23 per cent in 1990 to about 32 per cent in 2005;
- The region was disproportionately hit in terms of natural disasters: 45 per cent of the world’s natural disasters occurred in Asia-Pacific in the last three decades.