SDG 12 Background Note - ESCWA

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SDGs: Goal 12: Responsible Production and Consumption

SDG 12 Background Note

March 2021

SDG 12 encapsulates the entire sustainable development paradigm at the local, national, regional and global levels. In the Arab region, the urgent need to address unsustainable consumption and production patterns is clearly reflected in various trends, such as increasing water scarcity, rising energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions, escalating waste generation, low levels of reuse and recycling, and worsening air and water pollution (SDGs 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15). Several countries have recently adopted national sustainable consumption and production plans, a step in the right direction. However, major adjustments to incentives driving unsustainable patterns of consumption and production are needed. Progress requires shifting from a focus on economic growth alone to embracing sustainable development, mobilizing and regulating the private sector to support such a transformation, and engaging communities and individuals in steering this paradigm shift.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected consumption patterns in the Arab region. Additional pressure on hospitals and health-care facilities (SDG 3), teleworking from home and commuting disruptions (SDGs 8 and 1), as well as additional hygiene and safety measures, have required Governments and local authorities to rapidly adapt and reshape their services with regards to medical and municipal waste (SDG 11). Several industries have slowed, thus finding schemes to increase their resilience is a priority for the region (SDG 9). This is an opportunity to ensure that recovery plans reorient policies and practices towards greener more sustainable consumption and production models.

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