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Asia’s Wicked Environmental Problems

By Stephen Howes and Paul Wyrwoll


The developing economies of Asia are confronted by serious environmental problems that threaten to undermine future growth, food security, and regional stability. This study considers four major environmental challenges that policymakers across developing Asia will need to address towards 2030: water management, air pollution, deforestation and land degradation, and climate change. We argue that these challenges, each unique in their own way, all exhibit the characteristics of “wicked problems”. As developed in the planning literature, and now applied much more broadly, wicked problems are dynamic, complex, encompass many issues and stakeholders, and evade straightforward, lasting solutions.asia environmental problems; food security; water management; air pollution; deforestation; land degradation; climate change; wicked problems

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