The 56 countries of the UNECE region, spanning from North America to Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia, are major users and producers of natural resources. Efficiency in the domestic use of resources continues to increase in the region, but the overall material footprint, which includes also the raw materials in imported goods, rose by more than 17 per cent between 2000 and 2017.
The production and consumption of natural resources – many of which are finite – requires enormous energy and leads to environmental degradation and increased vulnerability to climate change. Transitioning to a more circular economy and sustainable use of natural resources is therefore crucial for the region. As we enter the Decade of Action to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, this shift offers a unique catalyst for cross-cutting SDGs progress, accelerating the move to greener and more resilient economies that must be at the heart of efforts to recover better from the COVID-19 crisis.
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