Improving Natural Resource Management

The Indo-Pacific region is rich in forests, fisheries and other natural resources. The region’s incredible biodiversity includes the world’s largest concentration of marine life and the world’s largest area of mangrove forests. Countries depend on their natural resources, including energy, water, land and clean air, for their long-term growth.

Improving natural resource management

Yet the sustainability of these natural resources—and the vulnerable communities that depend on them for their livelihoods—are threatened by irresponsible infrastructure development and reckless resource extraction that ignore environmental and social safeguards. Unsound infrastructure development along the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, for example, threatens the food, water and livelihoods of some 60 million people. Furthermore, high rates of transnational crime in Asia are associated with illegal fishing, logging and wildlife and contribute to rapid environmental degradation while also undermining the regional stability that underpins a free and open Indo-Pacific. Global annual losses from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud is estimated at up to $23 billion annually.

USAID partners with countries across the region to strengthen their responsible management of natural resources, including vital energy sources. We help strengthen natural resource management laws and promote the adoption and enforcement of international environmental standards. We foster private sector engagement on sustainable supply chains, energy sector transformation and safeguards. We focus on supporting water and energy security, legal and sustainable fishing and timber, and efforts to combat transnational environmental crime, including that associated with wildlife poaching and trafficking. We work through regional platforms including the Lower Mekong Initiative.

USAID plays a leading role in Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy), an interagency initiative also announced in July 2018 that works to strengthen energy security and expand energy access across the Indo-Pacific region.

USAID brings extensive experience to the table. Our past achievements in this area include:

  • In Indonesia, USAID has mobilized approximately $1.5 billion since 2015 toward the country’s renewable energy development, expanding access to clean energy for roughly 1.3 million people while improving the country’s energy security.
  • Together with our partners, we are currently testing five electronic traceability technologies in Southeast Asia’s seafood supply chains to help combat transnational crime associated with illegal fishing.

Last updated: July 23, 2019

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