Panel Discussion: „Managing and Conserving the Natural Resource Base of Economic and Social Development"

Jan 9, 2014

(Statement as delivered by Ambassador Peter Wittig:)

Dear Mr. Harris,

Dear Co-Chairs of the International Resource Panel,

Dear Mr. Hoballah,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is a privilege to open today’s meeting. I am delighted that you have chosen the German House as your venue again – after a successful event held jointly with the International Resource Panel some time ago. And I am particularly glad to welcome you, Dr. von Weizsäcker and Dr. Khosla, as our panelists. 

Shaping the Sustainable Development Goals is one of the key challenges the international community faces today. Or to be more accurate, it is one of the biggest opportunities of our time. These goals need to be universally applicable, giving due consideration to the different conditions of all countries.

The sustainable, careful and efficient use of natural resources and commodities has become essential for the future of humankind. It can only be achieved jointly by industrialized countries, emerging economies and developed countries. Sustainable consumption and sustainable production play decisive roles. Resource efficiency is key and should be given appropriate consideration for the development of SDGs as an important cross cutting issue.

I would like to thank the International Resource Panel and UNEP for their level of dedication to this topic and the excellent cooperation in the preparation of today’s side event.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We need sound knowledge about the global level of resource consumption international initiatives that aim at limiting consumption to a level which does not exceed planetary boundaries. Where do we start, what are the central trigger points, what kind of instruments do we use? What is our goal and how can we achieve it? Political decision making depends on scientific advice and the International Resource Panel is an important player in this field.

What kind of contribution can an economically powerful and industrialized country like Germany make in order to protect our environment from the impact of excessive resource consumption?

Since 2002 we have been supporting a clear target on resource efficiency in our national sustainability strategy. Our aim is to double resource productivity by 2020 compared to 1994. Our resource productivity increased by almost 50% by 2010, but additional efforts are necessary.

Therefore, in 2012 we launched the German resource efficiency programme “ProgRess”, a master plan for green economy. The focus is on market incentives, information, education, science and innovation and the support of voluntary initiatives in economy and society. Our aim is to break the spiral of resource use through intelligent and efficient use of materials and to satisfy in the long term our need for recycling material. By recycling metals, for example, we can reduce our dependency from imports, use less energy, create less carbon dioxide - emissions and occupy less land. All citizens can contribute to a lower resource use through their individual consumption and use-patterns. Therefore, the Federal Government offers a broad range of information and education measures to help citizens make informed choices.

As resource consumption will increase to cover the basic needs of a growing population, striving for more sustainable patterns of consumption and production is a task for all countries, regardless of their level of development. These issues are already an integral part of our bilateral cooperation with developing countries.

Based on our experience we believe that sustainable consumption and production patterns, including resource efficiency, must feature prominently in the post-2015 agenda, in order to eradicate poverty and to reach a sustainable development.

I thank you for your attention.

© GermanyUN