IRP Reports Trends in Global Material Resource Use
UN Photo/Kibae Park
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The International Resource Panel (IRP) of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP or UN Environment) released a report titled, ‘Assessing Global Resource Use; A systems approach to resource efficiency and pollution reduction'.

The publication contains a “Special Feature” on mitigating air pollution and achieving SDGs in Chinese cities and Delhi, India.

3 December 2017: In conjunction with the Science-Policy Business Forum and in advance of the third session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-3), the International Resource Panel (IRP) of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP or UN Environment) released a report titled, ‘Assessing Global Resource Use; A systems approach to resource efficiency and pollution reduction.’ The publication discusses where material resources are extracted and how they are used, with the goal of informing policy interventions towards a sustainable, pollution-free planet.

In assessing the state and outlook of global natural resources use, the report proposes seven strategies towards reducing pollution though more sustainable resource use. It also shares best practices from cities and countries. The report points out that “decoupling economic activity and human well-being from resource use – i.e. enhanced resource efficiency – is necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for all.”

Global material resource use is expected to reach nearly 90 billion tonnes in 2017.

The publication highlights that global material resource use is expected to reach nearly 90 billion tonnes in 2017, and may more than double from 2015 to 2050. The level of use, it notes, determines the amount of waste and emissions, or pollution, created. To achieve a decoupling of economic activity and human well-being, the report states that, “today’s linear material flows must become circular.” It points out that circular economies can create jobs and improve socio-economic as well as environmental outcomes. Towards this end, the publication calls for targets and indicators, like material footprints, as well as policy innovation and capacity building.

The publication also contains a “Special Feature” on ‘Mitigating air pollution and achieving the SDGs in cities through a systems focus on natural resources and infrastructure.’ The section looks at the challenges of urbanization and presents case studies on air pollution in Delhi, India and Chinese cities.

The Science, Policy and Business Forum took place from 2-3 December, while UNEA-3 convenes from 4-6 December, at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. [IISD RS coverage of UNEA-3] [IRP/UNEP Press Release] [Publication: Assessing Global Resource Use; A systems approach to resource efficiency and pollution reduction]


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