Skip to main content

Trends in Resource Use

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 gas (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. This means that progress towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns has a significance that transcends the region.

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

However, there are significant differences between countries in the region. While domestic material consumption per capita has declined over the last decade in high-income countries, it has continued to increase in middle- and low-income economies.