Rapid economic growth in the Asian-Pacific region provides economic hope for the region's low-income countries but raises international environmental dilemmas and could be unsustainable. The strong international and Asian political support for Asia's economic growth often makes little mention of the environmental issues involved. The natural resources water, air, and soils as well as Asia's conservation of living resources and maintenance of biodiversity are important environmental issues. Tourism development-especially ecotourism-could combine economic development and conservation, but as Asian examples illustrate, it has limitations. Other environmental influences include the rapid urbanisation of Asia and the likelihood of increased international and transboundary conflicts over use of natural resources as economic growth in Asia proceeds. Markets and market reforms are not sufficient to deal with Asia's economic problems. Institutional and other reforms also are needed. One must reject the view that economic growth neglecting the environment is acceptable even in low-income countries. Polluting and degrading the environment now and repairing it later is a dangerous policy to follow, particularly for larger Asian countries. In fact, a strong case exists for high-income countries to support the environmental conservation efforts of low-income countries. Copyright 1995 Western Economic Association International.
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