IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


5th March, 2024 Environment


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Picture Courtesy: https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/speech/global-resources-outlook-press-statement-unep-executive-director

Context: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Resource Panel (IRP) released a new report titled "Global Resources Outlook 2024 - Bend the Trend: Pathways to a Liveable Planet as Resource Use Spikes."


  • The Global Resources Outlook 2024, released during the Sixth United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-6), sheds light on the alarming trends in the extraction and use of the world's resources.

Global Resources Outlook 2024: Key Highlights

Key Points


Rapid Growth in Resource Consumption

Global consumption of resources has tripled in the past 50 years.

Average annual growth rate exceeds 2.3%, making resource use a major driver of environmental issues.

Driving Factors and Environmental Impact

Upper-income countries consume the most resources.

Resource extraction and processing contribute to over 55% of greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of air pollution in these countries.

Agriculture and forestry activities further contribute to environmental degradation.

Projected Resource Exploitation Trends

Resource exploitation is expected to increase by 60% by 2060 compared to 2020 levels.

This surge would reach 160 billion tonnes and far exceed what's needed for basic human needs.

Global Inequality in Resource Consumption

A stark resource consumption gap exists between rich and poor countries.

Low-income countries consume six times fewer materials but have 10 times less climate impact compared to wealthy nations.

Upper middle-income countries have significantly increased resource use for infrastructure development.

Environmental and Climate Impacts of Resource Consumption

Resource efficiency and reduced material use are crucial to tackle environmental problems.

Cutting resource use could lead to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases, enabling fairer wealth distribution and economic growth.

Call for Urgent Action and Policy Measures

The report urges adopting circular economy principles: refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle.

Policymakers need to integrate resource management into environmental agreements and create incentives for sustainable practices.

Role of Wealth Disparity in Resource Consumption

Current resource use is unequal, with wealthy individuals consuming far more than needed.

The report proposes balancing resource access for the poor with reduced consumption by the rich to improve environmental well-being.

Balancing Economic Growth and Sustainable Resource Use

Economic prosperity can be decoupled from high resource consumption.

The goal is to allow some resource increase for the poor while significantly reducing consumption by the wealthy to achieve environmental sustainability and improve quality of life.

Recommendations for Sustainable Resource Consumption

Businesses should adopt circular, resource-efficient, and low-impact models.

Urgent policy changes are needed to phase out unsustainable practices and promote responsible resource use for human needs.

The Path Forward

The report calls for bold policy action towards sustainable resource consumption and production globally.

This transition must align with Sustainable Development Goals and ensure social acceptance and equity.

United Nations Environment Programme

  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.
  • UNEP is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. It operates through various regional offices and collaborating centres worldwide.
  • UNEP's primary functions include assessing global and regional environmental trends, providing policy advice, promoting international cooperation on environmental issues, and coordinating environmental activities across the UN system.

Establishment and Mandate

  • UNEP was established in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly in response to the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Its mandate is to provide leadership and encourage partnerships in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

UNEP works on a variety of environmental issues categorized under six main areas

  • Climate Change: UNEP helps countries strengthen their ability to respond to climate change through leadership in adaptation, mitigation strategies, technological advancements, and financing.
  • Ecosystems Management: UNEP works on facilitating the management and restoration of ecosystems while promoting the use of services they provide in a sustainable way.
  • Post-Conflict and Disaster Management: UNEP plays a role in assessing environmental damage in areas affected by crises and guides the setting up better environmental management practices during reconstruction.
  • Chemicals and Waste Management: UNEP addresses challenges related to chemicals and waste disposal by promoting sound management practices.
  • Environmental Governance: UNEP works on strengthening environmental laws and institutions around the world.
  • Resource Efficiency: UNEP works on promoting resource efficiency and a move towards a more circular economy.


  • The Global Resources Outlook 2024 report underscores the urgent need for transformative action to address the crisis of excess resource consumption. It advocates for sustainable resource use paths, innovative business models, supportive regulations, and multilateral cooperation to achieve global sustainability goals.


Q. Which organization released the Global Resources Outlook 2024 report?

A) World Health Organization (WHO)

B) International Monetary Fund (IMF)

C) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

D) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Answer: C

Explanation: The International Resource Panel, which is part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is responsible for the Global Resources Outlook report.