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

15th meeting of the International Resource Panel held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on 3-7 November 2014

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.

Following a strategic meeting in Rotterdam that concluded today, the Panel identified areas for future research, including: circular economy and innovation; restoration and resilience of land biodiversity and ecosystem services; poverty eradication and governance of natural resources with focus on minerals development. 

For more information, please contact:

Shereen Zorba, Head of News and Media, UNEP Division of Communication and Public Information, Tel. +254 788 526 000. Email:

Moira O'Brien-Malone, Head, Communications, UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, Tel: + 33 1 44 37 76 12 or mobile +33 6 82 26 93 73. Email: moira

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.

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