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Events of the International Resource Panel


Protecting and Managing the Natural Resource Base of Economic and Social Development – A side event during the 7th session of the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, 9 January 2014

As part of the efforts to contribute to the deliberations on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Resource Panel in cooperation with the Government of Germany organized a side event to present to country delegations and other relevant stakeholders a think-piece developed by the IRP on the need to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals promote the protection and sustainable management of the natural resource base of economic and social development. The IRP think-piece is a result of extensive consultations among scientists and policy-makers that (a) highlights the importance of sustainable resource management and resource efficiency for sustainable development; (b) articulates scientific methods and perspectives to formulate specific goals, targets and indicators; and (c) proposes targets and indicators for the use of key natural resources from a full life-cycle perspective.

In addition, Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Co-Chair, International Resource Panel, participated as a keynote speaker of the 7th Session of the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals on January 8th with a general interactive exchange of views on “Sustainable Consumption and Production (including chemical and waste)” where he highlighted the IRP’s work and findings. For details see:

  • Video Ernst von Weizsäcker (Link)
  • Presentation by Ernst von Weizsäcker (Link)
  • Presentation by Ashok Khosla, IRP Co-Chair (Link)
  • Presentation by Stefan Bringezu, IRP member (Link)
  • Flyer of the event (Link


    High-Level Seminar on Responsible Management of Natural Resources for a Sustainable Africa: Best Science for Informed Policy Making, 2-3 November 2013, Nairobi, Kenya.

    The International Resource Panel in collaboration with UNEP’s Regional Office for Africa organized a high-level seminar on responsible management of natural resources in Nairobi, Kenya. The main objective of the seminar was to enhance awareness and understanding about sustainable management of natural resources and identify challenges and opportunities for African countries to promote resource efficiency. The seminar engaged senior policy-makers, policy advisors, and expert researchers who are familiar with challenges in terms of resource use, economic growth and environment sustainability and are committed to finding a new pathway to overcome the dilemma including resource efficiency, decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation and other innovative technological and systemic changes. During the seminar, IRP scientists and experts presented best science available and up-to-date information about 1) decoupling economic growth from environmental deterioration, sustainable management of natural resources critical to economic growth and poverty reduction; 2) the sustainable management of biotic resources, including water, land and soil; 3) the environmental impacts of metals and their stocks, recycling rates and recycling technologies; and 4) city-level decoupling and urban resource flows. Participating officials and experts shared their views and experience with regard to resource efficiency and sustainable management of natural resources.

    6th ASEAN + Three Leadership Programme on Sustainable Production and Consumption & Seminar on Resource Efficiency and Decoupling Approach, 15-18 October 2013, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    The 6th ASEAN+3 Leadership Programme was preceded by a seminar organized by UNEP’s International Resource Panel. The main objective of this seminar was  to enhance the awareness and understanding about resource efficiency and the decoupling approach identifying challenges and opportunities for countries in the ASEAN region. Jeffrey McNeely (IRP), Rene Van Berkel (UNIDO) and Meghan O’Brien (Wuppertal Institute) presented the latest findings of the IRP on decoupling natural resources and environmental impacts from economic growth, global metal flows, sustainable land management and REDD+ in a Green Economy. Participants included policy makers from the ASEAN Member States working in Sustainable Consumption and Production.

    World Resources Forum at the Davos Congress Center, 6 - 9 October 2013

    During the 2013 World Resources Forum, the IRP conducted two special sessions:

    1)      Session on Global Metals Flows. Panel members presented  highlights of the 4 IRP reports from the Metals Working Group as well as an IRP e-book on the topic.

    2)      Session on City-Level Decoupling (in collaboration with the Dutch Environmental Agency – PBL). Panel Co-Chair Ernst von Weizsäcker, and Panel members Mark Swilling and Maarten Hajer presented latest IRP findings on the topic.  

    Green Week 2013, Brussels “ Cleaner air for all” 4-7 June 2013


    The 2013 edition of Green Week, the biggest annual conference on European Environment policy, took place from 4 to 7 June at the Egg Conference Center in Brussels. This year’s theme was Air Quality. The International Resource Panel organized a session at the 2013 Green Week focusing on achieving resource efficiency and decoupling in pursuit of climate mitigation and alleviation of air pollution. Through a series of expert presentations and a panel discussion including Q&A, the session succeeded in engaging the discussants and the audience in an open dialogue on the potentials and limits of resource efficiency, decoupling policies in the improvement of air quality and reduced GHG generation. Arab Hoballah, Chief of the Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch in the UNEP’s DTIE, chaired the panel discussion on ‘Decoupling economic growth from air pollution and climate change’ along with IRP members Prof. Jacqueline McGlade, Prof. Edgar Hertwich and Prof. Ester van der Voet. Findings from two IRP studies were shared during the session: (1) “Low Carbon Technologies for Electricity Production, Environmental Benefits, Risks and Trade-offs,” and (2) “Environmental Risks and Challenges of Anthropogenic Metals Flows and Cycles”. The Green Week offered a unique opportunity for debate and exchanges of experience and best practice. The IRP’s session was well attended by representatives from European and international bodies, local and regional authorities, business and industry, non-governmental organizations, academia and media.


    Rio+20 Side Event


    LAUNCH: RESPONSIBLE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORLD: Findings of the International Resource Panel Tuesday, 19 June, 13.00-14.45, UNEP Pavilion Athletes Park , Rio de Janeiro



    Keynotes: Ms Dipuo Peters, Minister for Energy, South Africa Ernst von Weizsäcker, Co-Chair, International Resource Panel Ashok Khosla, Co-Chair, International Resource Panel

    Scientists step up to provide scientific policy relevant findings for Rio+20 How critical are natural resources to sustainable development? Is resource scarcity a real concern? Why is resource efficiency an important strategy for development? How is resource management related to equity? Why is resource efficiency an opportunity for all? Since 2007, the International Resource Panel has been developing scientific assessment reports on the sustainable management of natural  resources. During this event, they will launch a synopsis of findings of the first five reports, providing insights on how we use natural resources and where the best opportunities to realize the full potential of resources lie.

    Agenda 13.00   Opening by Joseph Alcamo, UNEP Chief Scientist             Ms Dipuo Peters, Minister for Energy, South Africa             Prof. Ernst von Weizsäcker, Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel             A synopsis of findings from the International Resource Panel on the opportunities of resource efficiency             Dr. Ashok Khosla, Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel             Understanding the opportunities in sustainable resource management and decoupling and in the choice of development paths             European Commission (Speaker TBC)             The role of the International Resource Panel for policy making             Maarten Hajer, International Resource Panel             Moderation of Q and A 14.45   Close by Maarten Hajer, International Resource Panel 


    World Resources Forum

    19-21 September 2011, Davos, Switzerland

    The World Resources Forum (WRF) is a science-based platform to exchange knowledge about the economic, political and environmental implications of  global resource use. WRF promotes innovation for resource productivity by building bridges between researchers and policymakers, business, NGO's and the public. Flagship activity is the bi-annual conference, held in Davos, Switzerland.

    Click here for more information.


    Resource efficiency: the agenda for economic transformation

    Tuesday 24 May 2011: European CommissionThis session analysed the current and future resource use patterns, and considered options to improve resource efficiency.

    Click on the links below to view the films as MP4s. You will require a media player to view the films:

    Chair: Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary General, UNEP Executive Director

    Prof. Dr. Ernst von Weizsäcker, Co-Chair, UNEP’s International Resource Panel

    Prof. Mark Swilling, Programme Coordinator for Sustainable Development, School of Public Management and Planning, Stellenbosch University, Member of UNEP’s International Resource Panel

    Heinz Leuenberger, Director of the Environmental Management Branch (EMB) of UNIDO (PPT)

    Prof Sangwon Suh, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Member of UNEP’s International Resource Panel

    Prof. Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director, European Environment Agency

    Discussion: Part 1

    Discussion: Part 2


    Date and Place Event Documents

    2 June 2010

    Brussels, Belgium

    Launch of Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Production and Consumption


    24 Feb 2010

    Hibiscus Room

    Side Event on the Resource Panel at the 26th Session of the UNEP Governing Council

    Building knowledge and partnerships to deliver resource efficiency for a green economy (PDF - 57 KB)


    Date and Place Event Documents

    15-16 Feb 2009

    Davos, Switzerland

    World Resource Forum

    Flyer (PDF - 242 KB)

    10-11 Mar 2009

    Tokyo, Japan

    Asia Seminar for Sustainable Resource Management


    Presentation by Bas de Leeuw, Head of the Secretariat of the Resource Panel: "Sustainable Resource Management - Introducing key UNEP activities" (PDF - 476 KB)

    Co-Chair's summary (PDF - 66 KB)

    18 Feb 2009

    Nairobi, Kenya

    Side Event on the Resource Panel and the Marrakech Process at the 25th Session of the UNEP Governing Council

    Side Event flyer (PDF - 193 KB)

    Agenda (PDF - 181 KB)

    Background paper (PDF - 241 KB)


    Date and Place Event Documents

    15-16 Aug 2008

    Yale University, USA

    Metals working group workshop (by invitation only)


    3-6 June 2008

    Brussels, Belgium

    Green Week 2008 conference, organised by the European Commission and included sessions on the role of the Resource Panel.

    Speech by Angela Cropper, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP: "Decoupling Economic Growth from Environmental Degradation - The Crucial Role of Resource Efficiency" (PDF - 28 KB)

    Presentations by Thomas Graedel:

    "Is Sustainable Resource Management Possible?" (PDF - 373 KB)

    "Are Non-Renewable Resources Critical?" (PDF - 1,1 MB)

    Videostream of the session on identifying priority natural resources

    Photo gallery

    25 April 2008

    Paris, France

    Workshop on the prioritisation of products and resources from an environmental sustainability point of view (by invitation only)


    23-25 April 2008

    Paris, France

    OECD-UNEP Conference on Resource Efficiency. The joint conference between UNEP and the OECD addressed how improved resource efficiency can reduce the negative environmental impacts of resource extraction, processing, use and disposal, while securing adequate supplies of materials to sustain economic activity.

    Conclusions by the conference co-chairs (PDF - 91 KB)



    Date and Place Event Documents

    25 Sept 2007

    Tokyo, Japan

    UNEP International Workshop on Resource Efficiency and the Environment: Identifying Key Resource Flows

    Background (PDF - 72 KB)

    Agenda (PDF - 97 KB)

    List of Participants (PDF - 69 KB)

    Summary of Workshop Sessions (PDF - 156 KB)


    8 Feb 2007

    Nairobi, Kenya

    Special Event at the 24th Session of UNEP Governing Council

    UNEP Presentation (PDF - 1,33 MB)

    EC Presentation (PDF - 1,03 MB)



    Date and Place Event Documents

    8 Dec 2006

    Brussels, Belgium

    Pre-Panel Meeting

    Pre-Panel Meeting summary report (PDF - 117 KB)

    6-7 Dec 2006

    Brussels, Belgium

    Sustainable Resource Management, Raw Materials Security, Factor-X Resource Productivity

    Introductory presentation by the College of Europe (PDF - 1,5 MB)

    Keynote presentation by the European Commission (PDF - 414 KB)

    Keynote presentation by UNEP (PDF - 451 KB)

    Results of the survey on the planned Resource Panel by the College of Europe (PDF