United Nations Environment Programme environment for development


  • 3-7 November 2014
    Rotterdam, Netherlands
    15th Meeting of the IRP and its Steering Committee
  • 10-11 November 2014
    Berlin, Germany
    European Resources Forum
  • 17-18 March 2015
    New Haven, USA
    International Resource Panel - Working Group Meeting on Integrated Scenario Analysis
  • 14-15 April 2015
    Paris, France
    International Resource Panel workshop on Marine Resources
  • 25 May 2015
    Ha Noi, Vietnam
    Policy Dialogue with national policy-makers, academia and industry
  • 25-29 May 2015
    Ha Noi, Vietnam
    16th Meeting of the IRP and its Steering Committee
  • 6 July 2015
    New York, USA
    Launch of the IRP Assessment - Policy Coherence of the SDGs: A Natural Resources Perspective
  • 8 July 2015
    Paris, France
    International Resource Panel Session at the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.
  • 16-19 August 2015
    Malé, Republic of the Maldives
    International Resource Panel Session at the 6th Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific
  • 11-15 October 2015 
    Davos, Switzerland
    17th Meeting of the IRP and its Steering Committee

Knowledge Resources

Knowledge Resource


A reflection from the International Resource Panel on the establishment of Sustainable Development Goals aimed at decoupling economic growth from escalating resource use and environmental degradation

February 7, 2014

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Did you Know?

  • Human health is most affected by poverty: malnutrition, unsafe drinking water, and indoor air pollution.

  • The collapse of several fish resource stocks is a clear sign that humans can overexploit the Earth’s natural resource base.

  • Agriculture is responsible for 50% of land use and 70% of water use.

  • The production of goods and services for household consumption is the most important cause for greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Forests have effectively disappeared from 25 countries and more than 90 % of forest cover has been lost in a further 29 countries.

  • Deforestation and forest degradation are ultimately driven by consumption patterns and processes in virtually every sector of the economy.

  • Forests can help regulate the amount of water reaching rivers and reduce the risk or magnitude of flooding.

  • 60 million indigenous people depend on forests.

  • Over 2 billion people use wood fuel for cooking and/or heating.

  • 33 of the world’s 105 largest cities obtain their fresh water directly from protected areas.

  • Forests are the habitat for 77% of globally threatened birds.

  • Cities are where the major global and national resource flows connect as resource inputs, stocks and outputs (goods, services and wastes).

  • The rising levels of investment in urban infrastructures provide a unique opportunity to prepare cities for both, inclusive economic development and sustainable consumption of natural resources.
  • Traditional biomass use currently provides 13% of global final energy demand.

  • Increased biofuel production is expected to have large impacts on biological diversity.

  • Around 23% of global soils are estimated to be degraded.

  • Change to more meat-based diets will result in a significant increase in the need for agricultural land.

  • Taking modest estimates of additional land requirements by 2050 reveals that cropland altogether is expected to expand by around 320 to 850 Mha.

  • Around one third of edible food is lost or wasted annually.

  • Total material extraction in the 20th century increased by a factor of about 8, and the price index of resource declined by about 30 %.

  • Internationally traded materials increased from 5.4 billion tons in 1970 to 19 billion tons in 2005.

The International Resource Panel in the World