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Indicators for a Resource Efficient and Green Asia and the Pacific

Measuring Progress of Sustainable Consumption and Production, Green Economy and Resource Efficiency Policies in the Asia-Pacific Region

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This report paints a clear picture of the path taken by the countries in the region over the past 40 years in their resource use. Today, the region dominates global resource use, comprising more than 50 per cent and consumption is rapidly rising as economies grow, infrastructure is built and the middle class expands. But even accounting for economic growth, resource efficiency in the region lags far behind the rest of the world, and varies dramatically between countries. As an illustration, developing countries in the region use an average of 5kg of resources for every dollar they produce, ten times that used by industrialized countries. This begs the question of where we should seek the fastest and best improvements in efficiency and where the Asia Pacific region can find the “low-hanging fruit” to achieve resource efficiency in this high-tech age.

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Highlights for policymakers

Natural resources are the foundation of economic development. This report reveals the patterns and the evolution of natural resource use in the Asia and the Pacific region over the last 40 years. The analysis shows that resource use in the region is both inefficient and unsustainable. The Asia-Pacific region will not be able to base its future economic growth on declining costs of natural resources as was possible during most of the twentieth century. An increasing reliance on resources from abroad and volatility in the global resource markets will pose challenges to the economic resilience of countries in the region. In this new economic context resource efficiency and decoupling of economic growth and resource use will be fundamental to the economic success of the region. There is a window of opportunity, however, for Asia-Pacific countries to invest in policies and the infrastructure that will support sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in the decades to come. Acting now will reduce economic vulnerability, especially of low income groups, and will help secure the competitiveness of tomorrow in a low carbon resource efficient global economy.

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