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Environment and Development

Strengthening Environmental Governance

The links between the health of ecosystems, human health and the provision of key ecosystem services underline the importance of safeguarding and restoring environmental systems. Sustainability challenges are inherently complex. The impending biodiversity, climate, water, and food crises and the risks that they present all signal a need for governments to strengthen adaptive governance which emphasizes deep learning in institutions, engaging stakeholders, strengthening the science policy interface and applying foresight methods and futures thinking. SDGs 16 and 17 are most relevant to this area of work, but it supports all other Sustainable Development Goals.

Knowledge products and Learning Tools

The Environment and Development Division works to produce knowledge products and learning tools that expand the opportunities for professional development of government officials and other stakeholders in relation to environmental governance – with a focus on the areas of public participation and stakeholder engagement, and the support provided to strengthening policymaking.

Intergovernmental processes and regional dialogues

Intergovernmental processes managed by the Environment and Development Division have enabled mainstreaming of environmental governance priorities and needs in inter-governmental dialogue.  Regional dialogues enable peer learning, exchanges between stakeholder groups and identification of priorities.

Technical support and capacity building

Technical support is provided on environmental governance on request of Member States.

Knowledge products


Four dimensions of meaningful engagement for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Training reference material on stakeholder engagement. This material has been developed under a partnership between ESCAP and the International Association for Public Participation and has supported professional development activities in several countries. Useful as a planning resource.

Accelerating Progress: An Inclusive, empowered and equal Asia and the Pacific. Empowering people, ensuring inclusiveness and equality is fundamental to realizing sustainable development. This report proposes and explores a framework of four synergistic elements that can promote these intertwined objectives.  (

Elements of an empowerment and inclusion framework


Featured activities

Access to Information, Public Participation, and Environmental Justice

ESCAP’s Environment and Development Division aims to foster access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters (known also as ‘access rights’) in Asia and the Pacific, in collaboration with UNEP’s Regional Office on Environmental Law and Governance in Asia and the Pacific, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, South-East Asia Regional Office. A regional project titled “The value of empowerment and participation for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” has promoted empowerment and participation of marginalized and vulnerable groups in environmental change in its first phase. In its second, the project focusses on Access to Information, Public Participation, and Environmental Justice.  The project will produce recommendations for developing a regional framework on priorities related to environmental justice with a possible regional intergovernmental agreement as a longer-term objective. (

The ESCAP Youth Voices for Climate Action (YV4CA) campaign. This region-wide campaign serves as an inclusive platform for youth in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond to make their voices heard on climate action. By making your voice heard on this critical issue, you can inspire others to do the same and move policy makers in your country to accelerate climate action. (

International forum on stakeholder engagement: The forum brought the research, practitioner, government and policy communities together to share insights from research papers and other contributions, to discuss the implications for governance and public policy, and to generate recommendations for advancing public participation and stakeholder engagement. The forum concluded with a professional development workshop.