Plenary Session III: outlook and next steps

What a day! The European Resources Forum 2020 has come to an end, but I am sure its results will stay in our heads for a while. The closing session was coined by the thought that civil society plays a very important role in achieving resource efficiency and that, of course, includes every single one of us.

When thinking about policy decisions and their impact on communities, we must not forget those communities in the global south who are directly involved in material flow processes. Our economy has to be modelled in a way that enables every community in the world to be resilient in the wake of crises and ensures social stability. Dr. Ashok Khosla, member of UNEP International Resource Panel, reminded us that there are two sides of the important term “sufficiency”: What has been discussed a lot during today’s conference is sufficiency as a maximum, meaning our ability to limit our consumption to what we actually need. Resource efficiency, however, also has to do with sufficiency as a minimum, ensuring that every human being has enough resources to lead a healthy life.

To this end, non-governmental and civil society organisations, social enterprises and think tanks need to be strengthened so they can successfully assume their vital role as powerful actors in policy making. At the same time, we need to rethink our economic system in a way that fulfils our basic needs and equally respects planetary boundaries.

The ideas of paving the way towards a green economy while not leaving anyone behind have also been reflected in our fellow student reporters’ contributions live on stage. I think I can speak for all of us student reporters when saying that this conference with its rich and insightful discussions has strengthened our belief in a sustainable future. Share your impressions from the conference with those around you and make sure to check into this blog over the next days for exclusive interviews with both panellists and participants!

Have a good rest of the week and stay safe.

Rebecca Harms, University of Erfurt, Germany