Promoting transformative actions for sustainable development in the region


Progress on the environment-related Sustainable Development Goals has lagged in Asia and the Pacific, and environmental degradation and the risks to human health have continued to increase since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. At the same time, the coronavirus disease has further exposed the fragilities of the system and emphasized the urgency of restoring a sustainable relationship between nature and human societies. As we support the development of member States in Asia and the Pacific to achieve the 2030 Agenda, we promote raising climate ambition, safeguarding natural resources, protecting the Ocean, pursuing clean air for all and cities for a sustainable future. 

The Environment and Development Division is mapping paths to a green, resilient and more equal Asia and the Pacific. It applies transformative futures methods to develop scenarios for a more sustainable region and to identify the actions needed to realize this vision. The transformative futures methods used in this process draws on the intelligence of the collective for better insights on the forces that are shaping change. 

Our approach 

At the Environment and Development Division, our workplan is designed strategically around five thematic areas: 

  1. Raising Climate Ambition 
  1. Safeguarding Ecosystems' Health
  1. Protecting the Ocean 
  1. Climate Change and Air Pollution
  1. Cities for a Sustainable Future

In addition to these thematic areas, we mainstream cross-cutting issues in our lines of work. In particular: 

  1. Green Growth, and 
  1. Strengthening Environmental Governance

Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Asia-Pacific 

The Asia-Pacific region is not on track to secure the global environmental commons encompassing the planet’s shared environmental resources, including freshwater, marine, coastal, land and forest ecosystems and the biodiversity they host. In the upcoming decade, member States have an opportunity to accelerate action to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda.  

The Environment and Development Division offers a comprehensive intersectional approach to accelerate actions for implementation in the region. Our focus includes support to meet specific targets and to identify pivotal interventions that may catalyze positive results for more than a single Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)

Our services 

The Environment and Development Division delivers its services through the Environment and Development Policy Section (EDPS) and the Sustainable Urban Development Section (SUDS). Our division prioritizes work related to intergovernmental support, the development of knowledge products and tools, and technical assistance to build capacity in the region.

Intergovernmental support 

Our division supports Member States to enhance regional cooperation in the form of transformative, integrated environmental actions that can contribute to planetary health. Regional cooperation together with good governance and appropriate policies can help to integrate sustained improvements for green, resilient and sustainable development pathways. 

Knowledge products and learning tools 

Our work includes the development of knowledge products in the form of flagship reports, policy briefs, technical papers and theme studies throughout the year. All resources are available to the general public in digital format. 

In addition, EDD manages the Sustainable Development Goals Help Desk, one-stop online service providing access to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-related tools, knowledge products, data portals, expertise, advice and opportunities for peer-learning and regional South-South cooperation through thematic areas, covering a multitude of topics. 

Technical assistance and capacity building 

In line with our thematic areas and cross-cutting issues, the division provides technical assistance and capacity-building activities to support governments at the local, subnational and national levels to strengthen skills, knowledge and tools, as well as to improve knowledge-sharing and resource utilization.