WS21 Managing the social and economic challenges for the development of resource targets


· Workshop Organiser: UBA – German Federal Environment Agency

· Workshop Chair: Harry Lehmann

· Date and Time: Wednesday 14, 12h00 – 13h50

· Room: Seehorn

· Description: 

The sustainable management and the future availability of natural resources are among the most serious social and environmental challenges on our planet. The safe and fair use of our natural resources has to be a key element of a positive vision for our future as humanity. Global resource targets can provide an important milestone in transforming our societies towards sustainability and resilience. Therefore, apart from tackling environmental pressures, several social and economic implications have to be taken into consideration. Already now, several countries are facing land and water scarcities. Especially the water and the land topic are closely interlinked and connected with other resource related issues such as food and energy production (keyword: “resource nexus”). The workshop builds on the outcomes of the project IntRESS (, which is funded by the German Federal Environment Agency and aims at finding solid targets for sustainable resource use.

The fundamental importance of access to resources was recognized by the introduction of economic, social and cultural rights within the global human rights framework, and is essential part of the on-going discussion of collective rights of indigenous communities. In some countries, natural resources such as water or subsoil raw materials are partially managed as common goods in public property. In others they have been object of privatization, which has led to serious social conflicts in some cases. Recognizing the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples might require differentiated targets for high-consuming industrialized countries, high-consuming emerging countries and newly developing countries, being responsible only for a small percentage of the global material consumption.

Within the scientific discussion of resource targets, a lot of emphasis is laid on the lack of available data and methods covering critical aspects like land cover types, different types of water and water flows as well as the necessity of spatial, temporal/seasonal and sectoral differentiation. Nevertheless, some existing accounting systems can serve as starting points for the further development of a conceptual framework, and stimulate the political process at the global level. And last, but not least, several resource-related global goals, such as the promotion of sustainable agriculture and sustainable industrialization, with measurable sub-targets are most likely to be part of the future Sustainable Development Goals and will therefore be high on the new Global Post-2015 development agenda.

· Key questions for the workshop and for the discussion:

 1. Should quantitative targets be part of a well-articulated vision for the use of our planet´s natural resources?
 2. How can local, regional and global approaches be brought together, taking into consideration for example the uneven distribution of resource stocks, arable land etc.?
 3. Are differentiated targets for different income country groups politically feasible?
 4. What are the (pre)conditions of effective resource governance (institutions, policies, laws, strategies etc.)?
 5. Are global resource targets compatible with international human rights standards?
 6. How can community-based governance mechanisms be strengthened?

· Speakers:

Fritz Hinterberger, Sustainable Europe Research Institute, Austria: Presentation

Alexa Lutzenberger, ALRENE Germany: Presentation

Paul Ekins, University College London

Michael Obersteiner, IIASA, Austria: Presentation

Click here to find the Workshop flyer with the complete programme as pdf