Expert Opinion: Sustainable Development Requires Better Resource Management

The recent publication of the Global Resources Outlook 2024 by the UN Environment Programme’s International Resource Panel highlights the urgent need for improved resource management to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report emphasizes the detrimental impact of increasing material extraction and use on climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, stressing the importance of "bending the trend" to ensure a livable planet for all.


The recent publication of the Global Resources Outlook 2024 by the UN Environment Programme’s International Resource Panel highlights the urgent need for improved resource management to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report emphasizes the detrimental impact of increasing material extraction and use on climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, stressing the importance of "bending the trend" to ensure a livable planet for all.

Unsustainable Resource Use Threatens Sustainable Development Goals


The Global Resources Outlook 2024 reveals that material use has tripled over the past 50 years and is projected to increase by 60% from 2020 levels by 2060. This unsustainable trajectory poses a significant threat to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, as it could derail efforts to address key issues such as poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation. The report calls for urgent action to reduce the resource intensity of key sectors like food, mobility, housing, and energy to mitigate these risks.

The Reader's Guide

Disparities in Resource Use Between High-Income and Low-Income Countries


One striking finding of the report is the stark contrast in resource use between high-income countries and low-income countries. High-income nations consume six times more materials and generate ten times more climate impacts than their low-income counterparts. This disparity underscores the need for a more equitable approach to resource management that considers the social and environmental implications of consumption patterns.

Shifting Towards Sustainable Resource Solutions


The Global Resources Outlook 2024 advocates for a shift towards sustainable resource solutions that prioritize environmental sustainability, social equity, and economic prosperity. By phasing out unsustainable practices, promoting innovative approaches to meeting human needs, and fostering public acceptance of necessary transitions, the report envisions a future where global GDP can grow by 3%, the Human Development Index can improve by 7%, and material use can be reduced by 30% by 2060.

Recommendations for Sustainable Transition


To facilitate this transition, the report proposes a combination of production and consumption measures that address global equity and sufficiency. Key recommendations include transforming the built environment and mobility systems, reducing food loss and waste, promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, and transitioning to more sustainable modes of transportation. High-income countries are encouraged to adopt diets with less animal protein and embrace compact urban planning, while lower-income economies are advised to increase resource use to support dignified living standards.

In conclusion, the Global Resources Outlook 2024 serves as a wake-up call for policymakers, businesses, and individuals to take decisive action towards sustainable resource management. By heeding the recommendations outlined in the report and committing to a more sustainable future, we can safeguard the planet for future generations and ensure a just and livable world for all.

Mohamed Rahat

Hey there, I'm Mohamed Rahat, your go-to writer for all things business and economy. Originally from Mumbai, now rocking it in Navi Mumbai. With a past life at Tata Power Co. Ltd., I'm here to unravel the mysteries of the economic world, one article at a time. Stick around for some mind-bending insights! Connect With Me