Initiating the International Resource Panel

Dennis Meadows and Bas de Leeuw in Budapest

Budapest/Nairobi/Paris, 9 November 2007 – Assessing the environmental risks of biofuel production and metal recycling are two of the issues likely to top the agenda of a newly formed global think tank on resource efficiency. Launched here today at the World Science Forum, the new “International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management” will provide scientific assessments and expert advice on the use intensity, the security of supplies and the environmental impacts of selected products and services on a global level.

“Climate change rightly tops the environmental agenda at the moment, but the world faces more inconvenient truths that must be addressed,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which has established the panel.

“Economic growth in our modern times cannot be achieved with old consumption and production patterns,” he said. “We need to provide a boost to resource-efficient growth and innovation. We need to break the links between economic growth and environmental degradation, and finding ways to achieve this “decoupling” is what the new resource panel is all about.”

Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker, Ismail Seregeldin

“Quadrupling resource-productivity worldwide (doubling wealth while halving resource use) is the smoothest avenue to sustainable development,” according to Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker, Co-chair of the Panel.  “We all agree that a lot more economic wealth is needed for six and a half billion people let alone nine billion people that we expect to live on earth by the middle of this century.”

It was a pleasure to develop and design the Panel from its conception, and manage the Secretariat until I left UNEP in 2009, having worked with such renowned scientists and great leaders as Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker and many others.

Bas de Leeuw and Janet Salem, Rome

UNEP staff members who did more than their share included Janet Salem, Guido Sonnemann and Inhee Chung.

Read full press release.

See the overview of the meetings and latest info and publications here.