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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Sustainable Consumption and Production Global edition. A Handbook for Policymakers

Publication Year: 2015 Publisher: UNEP


The last few decades have been a time of dynamic changes across the world, with millions of people lifted out of poverty and a number of countries reaching middle income status. However, these achievements and changes have come at a significant cost to the environment. Increasing demand for energy, food, water and other resources has resulted in resource depletion, pollution, environmental degradation and climate change, pushing the earth towards its environmental limits. With humans now consuming more resources than ever before, the current patterns of development across the world are not sustainable.
One of the key elements for achieving sustainable development is the transition towards Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). This need was first highlighted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and was recently reiterated in the outcomes of the Rio +20 summit, with the adoption of the 10 Year Framework Programmes. SCP is about fulfilling the needs of all while using fewer resources, including energy and water, and producing less waste and pollution. It can contribute to poverty alleviation and the transition towards a low carbon, green economy and is essential for improving the lives of the world’s poorest people, who depend so closely on the natural resources provided by their environment. SCP can lead to an improved quality of life and greater employment opportunities, complementing poverty reduction strategies. In particular the continuing infrastructure developments required across the region provide immense opportunities for SCP.