Janez Potočnik becomes co-chair of UN International Resource Panel


Former European Union Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik has become the new co-chair of the International Resource Panel (IRP).

Launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2007 to build and share the knowledge needed to improve the use of resources worldwide, IRP is seen as the most authoritative scientific forum for scientists and experts working in the area of natural resource management.


IRP is made up of eminent scientists that are 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.

It has the goal to steer us away from over-consumption, waste and ecological harm to a more prosperous and sustainable future.

Janez Potočnik replaces resource efficiency expert Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker.

UN under-secretary-general and UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said: “It is with great pleasure that I welcome Janez Potočnik to the IRP. He brings to the panel a wealth of knowledge and experience. As European Commissioner for the Environment since 2010, Janez 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.”

During a strategic meeting IRP has identified the following 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 interlinkages).