08 Nov 2014 Press release Resource efficiency

UNEP Welcomes Janez Potočnik as New Co-chair of the International Resource Panel

Rotterdam, 7 November 2014 - Former European Union Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik today became the new co-chair of the International Resource Panel (IRP), the most authoritative scientific forum for scientists and experts working in the area of natural resource management.

The International Resource Panel (IRP) was launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2007 to build and share the knowledge needed to improve the use of resources worldwide. 

The Panel consists of eminent scientists, highly skilled in resource management issues. Their reports distill the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic findings around global resource use. They provide advice and connections between policymakers, industry and the community on ways to improve global and local resource management. The Panel includes scientists and governments from both developed and developing regions, civil society, industrial and international organizations.

The Panel's goal is to steer us away from over-consumption, waste and ecological harm to a more prosperous and sustainable future.

Mr Potočnik succeeds renowned resource efficiency expert Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director said, "It is with great pleasure that I welcome Janez Potočnik to the International Resource Panel. Mr. Potočnik brings to the panel a wealth of knowledge and experience. As European Commissioner for the Environment since 2010, Mr. Potočnik focused on policies that contributed to preserving natural heritage while promoting growth opportunities, and succeeded in keeping the environment high on the political agenda."

"Under his leadership, the Panel will continue to provide policymakers with the best available science and information to help decouple economic growth from the unsustainable use of natural resources."

"I am very grateful to Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker for his commitment and guidance of the work of the International Resource Panel through the last years. Under his leadership, and that of Ashok Khosla, who remains as co-chair, the Panel has substantively contributed to advancing sustainability across diverse sectors," he added.

During a strategic meeting in Rotterdam that concluded today, the Panel identified the following work areas for future research: circular economy (remanufacturing), resource nexus (ecosystem resilience and restoration and poverty eradication), governance of natural resources and poverty eradication (minerals development and improved outcomes), and marine resources (green/blue economy interlinkages). More details will be available soon at www.unep.org/resourcepanel.

About the International Resource Panel 

The International Resource Panel was established in 2007 to provide independent, coherent and authoritative scientific assessments on the sustainable use of natural resources and the environmental impacts of resource use over the full life cycle. By providing up-to-date information and the best science available, the International Resource Panel contributes to a better understanding of how to decouple human development and economic growth from environmental degradation. The United Nations Environment Programme hosts the secretariat for the panel.

Through its scientific assessments thus far the International Resource Panel is able to demonstrate a growing impact on policy-development at international, regional, and national levels, with a large number of instances where the Panel's findings have been used by and referred to by international organizations, national governments, think tanks and research institutions, academia, civil society organizations and businesses in their discussions and decisions on establishing new policies in the area of resource efficiency, sustainable consumption and production and a green economy. http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/

About UNEP

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the voice for the environment in the UN system. Established in 1972, UNEP's mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

UNEP is an advocate, educator, catalyst and facilitator promoting the wise use of the planet's natural assets for sustainable development. It works with many partners, UN entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, business, industry, the media and civil society. UNEP's work involves providing support for: environmental assessment and reporting; legal and institutional strengthening and environmental policy development; sustainable use and management of natural resources; integration of economic development and environmental protection; and promoting public participation in environmental management.