Asia is the most populous region in the world, with a rich cultural and natural heritage. It includes several megadiverse countries and is home to a number of global biodiversity “hotspots". For centuries, protected areas have been an integral part of Asian landscapes and seascapes and have played a vital role in conserving biodiversity and the ecosystem services on which many communities depend. However, rapid economic development, population growth and an erosion of traditional practices are resulting in habitat loss and degradation. This is putting protected areas in Asia at risk and leading to serious decline in the biodiversity they harbour.
In 2010, governments from around the world, including all countries in Asia, committed to the Convention on Biological Diversity's Strategic Plan for Biodiversity which sets 20 targets to be met by 2020 to conserve biodiversity and ensure its sustainable and equitable use. These are known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Aichi Target 11 focuses on protected areas, calling for the expansion of protected areas to encompass 17% of terrestrial ecosystems and 10% of marine ecosystems to cover areas of importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services. It also calls for the effective and equitable management of ecologically representative and well-connected networks of protected areas, which are integrated into the wider landscape. These targets and the principles they represent are critical to ensuring that protected areas will continue to deliver on the objectives for which they were established.
This report, published in 2014, assesses progress towards the achievement of elements of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 in 24 selected countries in East Asia, South Asia and South-east Asia. These are referred to as the “Asia Region" throughout this report and are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam.