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21. Per unit of GDP, the material footprint (indicator 12.2.1) has increased, which means that more resources are needed today to produce the same unit of GDP than 20 years ago. Global levels of individual material use (domestic material consumption per capita) have increased by 40 per cent in the past 20 years.45 In 2017, upper-middle- income countries recorded the highest levels of domestic material consumption (a direct measure of materials consumed within the boundaries of a national economy), with countries in the Asia and the Pacific region accounting for almost 60 per cent of the global total.46 However, on the basis of demand-based measures that attribute global material resources to the final consumer, people living in high-income countries consumed 60 per cent more resources than those in upper-middle-income countries, and over 13 times more than those in low-income countries.47
22. Conversely, domestic material production measured per unit of GDP tells the story of resource-intensive production processes being outsourced to developing and emerging economies.
48 Developed economies benefit from the use of global resources, while developing economies are burdened with the attendant negative impacts of extraction and processing, without the benefits accrued by their use, and often struggle with challenges related to underconsumption.
Sustainable consumption and production uptake is unequal across regions and development categories
38. Between 2019 and 2021, 79 per cent of policies reported were from high-income and upper-middle-income countries, 0.5 per cent were from low-income countries and only 7.7 per cent were from least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States. Countries with special circumstances, despite being committed to sustainable development, have limited means to implement sustainable consumption and production projects, including as a result of constraints related to access to finance, technology and capacity.