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Environment and Climate Action

Asia faces growing vulnerability to natural disasters, flooding, drought and other transboundary environmental problems, with severe consequences for rural and urban communities, food security, economic growth, and political stability. Ultimately, solutions require collective political will: stakeholders from across sectors working toward a shared vision for socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable development. The Asia Foundation, drawing upon 60 years of governance experience, plays an essential role in helping Asian countries address critical national and regional environmental challenges.


  • Increased attention to environment and climate change in national and local development strategies
  • Increased cross-sectoral cooperation in natural resource management, disaster risk reduction, and environmental conflict mitigation
  • Greater public and private investment in clean energy, sustainable infrastructure, and green growth

Natural resources management

Natural resources are the basis of local livelihoods and national economies. Population growth, rapid economic development, poor resource management, and corruption, however, have had devastating impacts on Asia’s ecological systems. These impacts are compounded by trans-boundary environmental issues such as shared water and air pollution. There is a pressing need for improved governance of natural resources across the region. The Foundation approaches these challenges by facilitating stakeholder engagement, policy dialogues, and regional cooperation.

Disaster risk reduction and climate resilience 

Natural disasters and climate change pose a significant threat to the infrastructure, economies, and progress in Asia’s development. For over 20 years, The Asia Foundation has been helping communities to strengthen their resilience to natural disasters and climate change. It cultivates leadership within local and national governments, builds the capacity of vulnerable communities, and engages the private sector in disaster risk management and environmental planning.

Green growth and climate mitigation

The Asia Foundation has long been working with countries of Asia to better understand and address energy challenges and opportunities, while assisting countries to advance their transition to clean energy sources and low-carbon development. These efforts either focus on promoting regional energy trade and integration, expanding access to clean, affordable and reliable energy, improving energy efficiency for representative business sectors, or managing the water-energy-food nexus. All targeted to help enhance the region’s future economic growth, self-reliance, and environmental resilience.

Program highlights

Strengthening cooperation between Northeast Asian cities on green growth

The Foundation organized the first Northeast Asia Mayors’ Forum on Green Growth, bringing together municipal leaders from eight cities in China, Mongolia, and Korea. The forum created a platform for participants to exchange best practices and discuss common challenges in working toward inclusive and sustainable urban development. The Foundation also supported the development of Ulaanbaatar’s progressive Green Development Strategic Action Plan.

Disaster alerts via Thailand’s smartphones

The Foundation works in Thailand to expand the reach of early warning systems. With 62% of Thailand’s population using smartphones, there is an untapped opportunity to link existing alert systems to broader internet-based networks. In collaboration with the National Disaster Warning Center and the Department of Disaster Mitigation and Prevention, the Foundation engages Thai entrepreneurs, software developers, and civic tech experts to enhance access to data, and to integrate delivery of real-time alerts to citizens through social media.

Engaging civil society in transboundary water governance in South Asia

Rivers in South Asia bear the brunt of the growing demand for fresh water. Working in partnership with civil society organizations in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, the Foundation began providing small grants in 2013 to enhance the capacity of civil society organizations in the South Asia region to engage more effectively on transboundary water governance issues while fostering basin-wide dialogues to advocate for policy change and joint management of water resources.

The Latest Across Asia

70th Anniversary Impact Highlight

May 29, 2024


This year, we celebrate 70 years of improving lives and expanding opportunities.