Changing consumption and production patterns is one of an essential requirement of sustainable development, as recognized by the Heads of State and Governments in the Johannesburg Declaration of 2002. The resource-intensive consumption and production patterns of the developed countries cannot be replicated worldwide because, as some calculations suggest, it would require the resources of three planets to sustain these patterns. The impact on the world’s climate and ecosystems would be enormous and unpredictable – even dangerous.
Sustainable consumption and production requires a fundamental rethinking of the way societies produce, use and dispose of products. Through what is known as the Marrakesh Process launched in 2003, DESA, together with UNEP, promotes policies that encourage judicious use of resources by governments, industry, and individuals. Through its seven task forces and national cleaner production centres, the Marrakech Process is helping to put more environmentally-friendly products on the market; green public procurement, building design, industrial processes and tourism; disseminate information on sustainable lifestyles; develop educational material; and, assist African countries to leapfrog older technology and shift to production of eco-friendly goods and services.