“We need to break the links between economic growth and environmental degradation”
Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP
Humanity depends on the Earth’s natural resources for its survival and prosperity.
Water, soil, energy, minerals and metals underpin our civilization and its future; they feed us, shelter us and provide for our material needs throughout our lives.
Strong growth in both the human population and world economic demand over the past half century is now causing global depletion in these vital resources, with potential for serious scarcities in the years ahead.
For example, the Global Footprint Network estimates that humanity now uses the ecological resources of 1.5 Earths to support our present demands. They project that, at present rates of resource consumption, we will need two planets by 2030 and three by 2050.
Accelerating resource depletion poses a fundamental risk to the economic, social and environmental systems on which civilisation relies. It also offers significant opportunities.
There is therefore an urgent need to:
- Reduce the volume of resources used worldwide
- Do ‘more with less’, lift efficiency and improve rates of recycling
- Use resources in ways that cause less harm to the environment
- Decouple economic growth from environmental impacts
- Develop new ways to use scarce resources more efficiently
- Move the world towards a ‘green economy’
Who we are
The International Resource Panel (IRP) was launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2007 to build and share the knowledge needed to improve our use of resources worldwide.
The Panel consists of eminent scientists, highly skilled in resource management issues. Their reports distil the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic findings around global resource use. They provide advice and connections between policymakers, industry and the community on ways to improve global and local resource management. The Panel includes scientists and governments from both developed and developing regions, civil society, industrial and international organisations.
The Panel’s goal is to steer us away from overconsumption, waste and ecological harm to a more prosperous and sustainable future.