For the purposes of this proposal, the following five countries, namely PR China, DPR Korea, Japan, Mongolia and South Korea are designated as comprising East Asia. Of these five countries, three, namely PR China, DPR Korea and Mongolia are classified as developing countries.
The East Asia subregion has abundant natural resources and a wealth of biodiversity. East Asian countries, being conscious of their unique, rich but fragile natural inheritance have long been prominent contributors to the world's environmental conservation initiatives, as evidenced by their ratification of both the Convention on Biological Diversity and Agenda 21. There is deep common concern throughout the region over environmental sustainability and particularly over issues that sound taxonomic services can help to mitigate, such as pesticide pollution from agricultural activities, identification, control and eradication of alien invasive species and the irreversible loss of genetic resources through ongoing habitat destruction.
During the last two decades, some parts of the subregion have experienced massive economic development activities aimed at raising standards of living. The countries of the subregion are increasingly concerned that these rapid economic developments have negatively affected biodiversity and hence the medium and longer term sustainability of such development programmes. Thus, capacities for assessment, study and systematic observation and evaluation of biodiversity need to be reinforced at both national and subregional levels. A national and subregional initiative supported by international cooperation is an effective means to assisting with the in situ protection of the ecosystems and the ex situ conservation of biological and genetic resources.