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Status and Trends of Natural Resource Use in the ECE Region

The global economy is presently using the equivalent of 1.7 planets to produce the resources used by society and to absorb the waste that is generated in the process.1 It has been projected that the global ecological footprint will exceed what nature can regenerate by 75 per cent in 2020 (WWF, 2018). Furthermore, there are high rates of biodiversity loss, deforestation and land degradation affecting natural environments throughout the ECE region. If these developments continue, the damage may be irreversible. For instance, recent estimates suggest that global efforts to mitigate climate change need to be tripled in order to achieve the 2°C scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is widely seen as the global community’s accepted limitation of temperature growth to avoid significant and potentially catastrophic changes to the planet and increased fivefold to accomplish the 1.5°C scenario, which is the pathway to the target which countries have committed their best efforts to reach (UNEP, 2018). All-in-all, these are worrying signs, highlighting the urgent need for the sustainable management of natural resources.

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