The International Resource Panel (IRP) is a science-policy interface hosted by UN Environment. The SUN-SYSTEMIQ-IRP partnership started in 2017 to support a participatory strategy development process, which resulted in the 2018-2021 IRP Work Programme. The Programme lays out essential steps in achieving IRP’s objective “to contribute to a better understanding of sustainable development from a natural resources perspective, providing science-based policy options on how to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation while enhancing human well-being.” The programme identifies four high-impact priority areas for IRP’s research and stakeholder engagement: 1) Current trends and future prospects for global resource use and sustainable resource management; 2) Sustainable resource management within the global climate change agenda; 3) Socio-economic implications of the transition to more resource-efficient economies; 4) Sustainable resource management links to conflict, security and migration.
Following the development of the IRP Work Programme, SUN has been supporting the implementation of core audience engagement and impact enhancement strategies through SYSTEMIQ, as well as work on scenario modelling. By the end of 2018, the IRP had established fruitful partnerships with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum and expanded its more audience-specific products, including the “Summary for Industry” of the report “Re-defining Value – The Manufacturing Revolution”. The co-chairs Janez Potocnik and Izabella Teixeira presented at over 60 conferences in 2018 alone, including G7 and G20 meetings.
In 2019, the IRP published its flagship report “Global Resources Outlook 2019”, including important results from the scenario modelling work. The report widely informed the resolutions of the Fourth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA4) in March, as well as the G7 Environment Ministerial Declarations in May 2019. The complementary summary, Implications for Business Leaders, was launched at the Science-Policy-Business Forum and has been forming the basis of extensive exchanges with the private sector.
Both in policy and business decision making, IRP’s research is providing increasing understanding of the ‘missing link’ between environment, climate and sustainable development debates by clarifying the huge potential of smart resource management and a circular economy for economic, social and environmental wellbeing.