Environment, Population, and Health

Many areas in the Asia Pacific region are experiencing rapid social, economic, and environmental change. Industrialization, urbanization, economic growth, and population change—together with loss of biodiversity, modifications to coastal areas and tropical rainforests, and the effects of global climate change—all these developments make the region a “hot spot” from the perspective of global change and sustainable development.

Research at the East-West Center focuses on the changing environment in the Asia-Pacific region and on regional and global trends in population and health.

Research on the Environment

Poultry market in northern VietnamEnvironmental research at the East-West Center focuses on critical interactions between the environment and human society and promotes strong links between science and policy. Center scholars seek to develop regional communities of scientists, policymakers in the public and private sectors, resource managers, and community members. The goal is to conduct relevant scientific research and translate the results into useful information for regional, national, and local policymakers and communities. Within this framework, individual projects focus on current issues of regional significance, illuminate critical gaps in scientific understanding, and explore innovative approaches to establishing effective partnerships within the Asia Pacific community that will sustain both people and the environment.

Researchers are conducting environmental studies in six priority areas.

Helping Pacific Island Communities Respond to Climate Change. The Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment Program ( supports integrated research across the social and physical sciences to expand the options of decision-makers facing climate variability and change….

Economic Development and Land-Use Change in South and Southeast Asia. Two ongoing collaborative research projects and two recently completed projects link social-science data collected at household and community levels with remotely sensed and other spatial data to study the driving forces and multiple impacts of land-use change:

Modernization and Emerging Infectious Diseases: The Case of Avian Influenza in Vietnam. A recently completed collaborative study explored the mechanisms that underlie the emergence of new and reemerging infectious diseases, focusing on outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Vietnam….

Cities at Risk: Building Institutional Capacity for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Cities of Asia and the Pacific. This project links scientists and policymakers in the cities of Asia and the Pacific to address the practical and policy challenges they face as a result of climate change….

Community Management of Natural Resources: Examples from Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh. The East-West Center conducted collaborative research and training in community management of natural resources in Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh….

Exposure to Air Pollution and Health Effects in Hanoi, Vietnam. A collaborative project is conducting field environmental and socio-economic surveys and building the capacity of local researchers….

Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health. The Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health Sciences (PBC) provides a forum for individuals and organizations with diverse professional expertise and geographic backgrounds to develop and disseminate innovative strategies for addressing the most pressing environment and health issues of our time….

Spatial Information Laboratory. The Spatial Information Laboratory at the East-West Center endeavors to develop and increase the use of remote sensing data, geographic information systems (GIS), and global positioning system (GPS) technology for mapping and assessing environmental conditions….

Research on Population and Health

A woman with her grandson in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The East-West Center conducts basic and applied research on critical population and health issues facing the Asia-Pacific region, offers professional education and training, and facilitates the exchange of information among policymakers, program managers, and scholars. The objective is to improve understanding of how social, economic, cultural, political, and environmental conditions interact with demographic and health trends and to contribute to the formulation of effective population, health, and development policies and programs.

Current research focuses on four important concerns:

National Transfer Accounts: Measuring the Economic Impact of Population Change. Changes in fertility and mortality can have profound economic effects on a society through changes in the population age structure….

HIV/AIDS Policy Anaalysis, Research, and Training. The East-West Center conducts policy analysis, research, and training on HIV with a focus on Asian-Pacific epidemics….

Policy Responses to Low Fertility: An International Comparative Study. The East-West Center is conducting a joint project with the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA) to compare and evaluate policy responses to low fertility around the world….

Family change in Asia and the United States. This project examines new patterns of family formation, roles of family members, and the relationship between work and family life….

Communicating with Policymakers about Population and Health. As part of the East-West Center's Summer Seminar on Population, a workshop was held every year from 1996 to 2011 on Communicating with Policymakers about Population and Health. A special website makes available all the materials used in the workshop plus a great deal more….

Association of National Census and Statistics Directors of America, Asia and the Pacific (ANCSCAAP). The mission of the Association is to foster communication and cooperation in the collection and analysis of comprehensive statistical information on human populations and their behavior….

Research Staff Focusing on Environment, Population, and Health

Publications and Software

Selected books, reports, and other documents are listed in the Publications section of the East-West Center website, with an emphasis on recent titles. In addition, over the years, researchers at the Center have produced a great deal of work for outside publishers. Listed here are East-West Center publications plus journal articles, books, book chapters, and reports written by East-West Center scholars and published by organizations around the world. Publications are listed separately on environmental issues and on population and health. In addition, three sets of programs for demographic analysis are available free of charge.