New UN panel to boost resource efficiency

ASSESSING the environmental risks of biofuel production will be one issue addressed by the newly formed global think tank on resource efficiency.
New UN panel to boost resource efficiency New UN panel to boost resource efficiency New UN panel to boost resource efficiency New UN panel to boost resource efficiency New UN panel to boost resource efficiency

Established by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management will provide scientific assessments and expert advice on the sustainable use of resources.

The panel was launched at the World Science Forum in Hungary this week. Established by UNEP with the support of a range of governments and the European Commission, the new scientific panel is part of an international partnership on resource management.

"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," said Achim Steiner, director of UNEP.

"Economic growth in our modern times cannot be achieved with old consumption and production patterns – a point brought into sharp relief by our new Global Environment Outlook-4 which shows that collectively humans are over-utilising the Earth's nature-based resources at a rate that is outstripping nature's ability to renew and replenish them."

Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker, panel co-chair, said the panel aims to investigate ways to halve the consumption of fossil fuel energy and other natural resources.

"Quadrupling resource-productivity worldwide (doubling wealth while halving resource use) is the smoothest avenue to sustainable development," he said.

The new panel is expected to provide scientific and empirical assessments, written in a clear language about complex issues and reports that can be read by those who can take action such as mining industry executives, government officials and metal recyclers.

The panel includes about 20 members, picked for their expertise in areas such as resource management, ecosystem services, sustainable consumption and production, waste prevention and recycling and socio-economic aspects.

It is hoped the panel, which will be based in Paris, will advise which priority resource efficiency issues to address across a range of industries.

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