Asia is a diverse and complex region, comprising nations and peoples with differing historical experiences, and distinct cultures interwoven with many regional threads. The region is home to immense natural and productive resources within its lands, water bodies, and forests, with environments that are as unique as the Himalaya Range, the deserts of Rajasthan, the paddy fields of the Mekong valley, the fisheries of the Andaman, and the rainforests of Borneo, as well as astounding micro-ecosystem diversities from rivers to valleys to mountainsides.
Asia is a region of tremendous wealth, which has seen the rise of mega cities, special economic zones for manufacturing and hi-tech industries, with China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam as emerging economic powers. But it is also known for its large populations, deep pockets of poverty and gross inequalities within and between its rural and urban areas. Asia's economic boom has largely been a consequence of intense exploitation of its human and natural resources by states and corporations..
Of particular concern is the alarming rise in land and water grabbing across the region, spurred by agricultural, industrial, infrastructure and financial investments, real estate booms, urbanization, extractive industries, REDD and the rapid erosion of indigenous seeds and their replacement by hybrids or genetically engineered seeds which impact on overall biodiversity. As landscapes are privatized and natural resources commodified and sold to distant markets, entire communities are being dispossessed of their homes, wealth and assets, and being pushed into precarious livelihoods. Distress out-migration to slums increases while the rich and diverse agricultural traditions and knowledge, many of which sustained the biodiversity and health of the environment, are lost.
Social movements, CSOs, academics and communities across Asia and worldwide often depend on Focus on the Global South as a leading resource in these areas, and we play a leading role internationally in the Land Research Action Network and the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform, as well as locally across Asia.