Asia, which accounts for less than 15 percent of the world’s land, is the cramped home of 50 percent of the globe’s population.
During a symposium in Tokyo on Wednesday, participants noted that the region’s density guarantees it will be an environmental hot spot in the future. They called for international partnerships and corporate and government responsibility to boost local conservation programs.
The participants — representing industry, government and nongovernment organizations — also called on the state and corporate sectors to nurture capable individuals for nature preservation. “With the dramatic loss of original wildlife habitat variously estimated at up to 67 percent, the region deserves attention by conservationists,” said Ian Johnson, vice president of an environmental network at the World Bank. “The implicit policy of ‘grow now, pay for the environment later’ has resulted in unacceptably high economic costs.”
Nature preservation is an issue that no one policy or organization can solve, but rather a multifaceted problem requiring a collaborative approach, Johnson said, noting that it is an issue spawning a seminal change in thinking at the World Bank.
The continuing loss of various species of plants is likely to negatively affect mankind in the future as potential cures to diseases and agriculturally useful plants disappear for good, said David McDowell, chief officer of the Switzerland-based World Conservation Union (IUCN), a symposium sponsor.
Representatives from Indonesia and the Philippines spoke of the need to be aware of local circumstances and forge partnerships with local residents when attempting to support preservation efforts. “We should be given the opportunity to develop our own sustainable development models,” said Grizelda Mayo-Anda, executive director of the Environmental Legal Assistance Center in the Philippines.
Japanese speakers lamented the lack of people capable and willing to work in nature preservation.
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