Embracing circularity is not an option but an urgent imperative | UNECE


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The extraction of raw materials worldwide has more than doubled since 1990 and could double again by 2060 in the absence of corrective policies. According to the UN International Resources Panel, resource extraction and processing account for 90% of global biodiversity loss and water stress impacts, and half of total greenhouse (GHG) emissions, excluding those related to land use. 

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, and thus bear considerable responsibility. Why are their efforts to advance sustainability not delivering the results we need for more responsible resource use? 

Although efficiency in the domestic use of resources continues to increase in the region, the overall material footprint, which includes the raw materials in imported goods, rose by more than 17% between 2000 and 2017.  


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