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Natural Resource Management (NRM)

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The EAP region is blessed with a rich and varied natural resource base, including productive fisheries, vast areas of forests and good soils. However, these resources have been heavily exploited in the drive for development and, in many cases, they are now in a poor state. For example, World Bank estimates of Adjusted Net Savings (ANS) in EAP countries (a measure of changes in all assets) are significantly lower than Gross National Savings (GNS), which is the traditional measure and doesn't account for natural assets. In 2003, in the EAP region as a whole, the GNS (as percentage of GNI) was 41.7 percent, whereas the ANS was 27.9 percent. This difference suggests that natural resoure depletion may be having a serious impact on the rate of wealth accumulation in many East Asia and Pacific countries.

The decline of natural resources is perhaps most striking in the forestry sector, where logging is contributing to significant rates of forest loss. Indonesia's rate of deforestation almost doubled between 1985 and 1997, from 1 million to 1.7 million hectares per year. Water resources are also a problem. In the Philippines it is estimated that 58 percent of groundwater is contaminated and declines in surface and groundwater quality are evident in many other EAP countries. NRM issues also extend to coastal areas; for example in Indonesia 40 percent of the country’s coral reefs are considered to be seriously damaged, while only 5 percent are undisturbed.

Many of the regions NRM issues are now reaching a critical phase, as habitats and ecosystem services are being pushed beyond their limits. In order to meet this challenge, the World Bank will continue to address NRM issues by seeking to build partnerships and employ new approaches such as Learning and Innovation Loans, Adaptable Program Lending, as well as GEF and Carbon Finance funds. In the future the World Bank will focus on:

Scaling up innovative and successful NRM pilots. An ongoing challenge is to find ways of scaling up achievements demonstrated through various pilot initiatives; 

Integrated natural resource and ecosystem management. Including river basin, aquifer, lake, and coastal zone management;

Certification. For example, the use of modern technologies to prevent illegal logging and wildlife trade. 

Governance and control over resources: This topic is a particular area of concern. More 

Faiths and the environment: The World Bank is undertaking extensive work with the faith based organizations in the EAP region to encourage sustainable use of natural resources. More 

Supporting Local Language Field Guides: The World Bank's highly successful Field Guides program has now contributed more than 30 local language field guides across the EAP region. More

Related Information:
 Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility in the EAP Region
 Seminar on Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility, Bangkok, June 20, 2006

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