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Concern for integrating environmental considerations into development planning was expressed at the regional level as early as 1973 by the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East. In response to this need, a preliminary review and appraisal of the environmental situation in the ESCAP region was presented to the Commission at its thirty-eighth session in 1982. The Commission directed that a comprehensive report on the state of the region’s environment be prepared, the completed draft of which is being submitted to the Ministerial level Conference on the Environment in Asia in February 1985. The study seeks to foster the policy-level integration of environment and development, to draw attention to the urgent need for resource planning as an integral part of development planning, and to highlight the potential benefits of regional co-operation in the use and development of transboundary natural endowments.

The central theme of the report is “Development with environmental enhancement.” Environment is viewed as playing a central role among population, resources and development, emphasizing need-based resource use, endogenous generation of impulses for environmental enhancement and developments, national and local self-reliance, structural transformation to improve environmental and development efforts, the sustainability of the development process, and the accumulation of environmental wealth.