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As a vast and diverse subregion, East and North-East Asia is presented with a range of challenges to environmental sustainability from air pollution, biodiversity loss, marine pollution and climate change. Increasing energy demand and persistent reliance on fossil fuels have resulted in a sharp increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that have doubled since 2000. Air pollution has become a major challenge of the subregion and a common concern of public health. Significant land use changes brings a large number of species to face extinction risk. Apart from land restoration efforts, the increase of forest areas has not been driven by improving domestic consumption and production patterns but substituting domestic resources with international trade. The subregion intensively utilizes living marine resources which are also impacted by the heavy influx of land-based pollution.

As member States step up efforts to protect the environment by committing to achieve carbon neutrality around mid-century, there are significant challenges in meeting their respective national environmental targets and reversing the current trend of environmental degradation.

Serving as the Secretariat of the North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC), the East and North-East Asia Office facilitates environmental cooperation among six member States in five programmatic areas, namely: (a) Air pollution, (b) Biodiversity and nature conservation, (c) Marine protected areas, (d) Low carbon cities and (e) Desertification and land degradation.