Resource Use

Potočnik appointed Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel

Potočnik appointed Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel
The former European Commission (EC) Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, has succeeded resource efficiency expert Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker as Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel (IRP).

Launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2007 for scientists and stakeholders to ‘build and share the knowledge needed to improve the use of resources worldwide’, the panel works to further scientific, technical and socio-economic findings around global resource use.

It aims to provide advice to policymakers and industry on ways of improving global and local resource management so that society moves away from ‘over-consumption, waste and ecological harm’ to sustainability.

Potočnik, who was replaced as EC Environment Commissioner by Karmenu Vella on 1 November, will help oversee the IRP’s future work, alongside fellow Co-Chair Dr Ashok Khosla, founder and President of environmentally-friendly technology organisation, Development Alternatives.

‘Decoupling economic growth from the unsustainable use of natural resources’

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." (Indeed, one of Potočnik’s last actions as EC Environment Commissioner was to propose a resource efficiency target for all EU member states.)

"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."

He added: "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."

As well as appointing Potočnik as Co-Chair on Friday (7 November), the panel also identified the following work areas for future research:

  • bringing about the circular economy by encouraging remanufacturing;
  • boosting ecosystem resilience and restoration and poverty eradication;
  • governing natural resources and eradicating poverty (with a focus on minerals development and improved outcomes); and
  • developing links between the green and blue economy through marine resources.

Find out more about the International Resource Panel.

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