Covering more than a third of the Earth’s surface, the Asia-Pacific region is home to some of the planet’s most unique and endangered wildlife—from kangaroos and pandas to sea turtles and dugongs, from colorful reef fish to the world’s last wild orangutan populations.
Rapid development and other pressures from an increasing population and globalization are straining the region’s life support systems. Millions along the Yangtze River already face water shortages. Forests and grasslands throughout Southeast Asia and Australia are burning at unprecedented rates, increasing rather than moderating air pollution and emissions. Fisheries are diminishing as the coral reefs and wetlands that seed them are being suffocated by coastal development and the impacts of climate change. The long-term health of the planet and its people rests in changing this trajectory. And solutions to urgent global problems, like climate change, will succeed or fail based on what happens in Asia. We are working with all sectors of society to accelerate the transition to smarter and sustainable use of these resources.
We work with hydropower companies in China to optimize energy production while managing flood risk. We work with government and NGOs in Australia to help Indigenous groups resume ownership and management of traditional lands. We work with government agencies, mining companies and herders to preserve the vast grasslands that have nurtured Mongolians for centuries. We work with forestry companies and forest communities in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to bridge ownership conflicts and improve the management of production forests. We work with communal landowners, governments and others in Southeast Asia and the Pacific to protect the world’s richest coral reefs, the lifeblood of island communities and economies.
Our challenge is to balance the economic needs of the world’s most populous and fastest growing region with the urgent need to protect the natural resources that its people depend upon for survival.