Idea for World Forum on Raw Materials Welcomed at ERF

world forum on raw materials
Paul Ekins at ERF, photo UBA

Berlin, 10 November 2016 The third European Resources Forum in Berlin welcomed the idea for a World Forum on Raw Materials. It should be built on existing international resource governance initiatives and challenges, as various experts from different organizations in academia, science and industry discussed.

WRF President Xaver Edelmann stated that the need for better international governance of resources has been an important issue at every WRF conference since 2011. Bringing together experts and decision-makers from all over the world, the World Resources Forum is with the UN Environment International Resource Panel (IRP), the OECD, the European Commission, and the World Materials Forum one of the many good initiatives to date. Making use of this existing knowledge infrastructure is an essential starting point for international decision making, explained Edelmann.

Paul Ekins, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Resources at UCL and member of UNEP IRP, seconded the argument on the importance of institutions.  “We have seen a lot of institutional innovation in recent years, the Paris Agreement and the SDG only being a part of them”, summarizes Ekins his statement. He would welcome a Forum on Raw Materials and be pleased to attend its meeting, but it should not be just a “talk forum”, rather one “for action”.

Victoire de Margerie, Vice-President of the World Materials Forum in Nancy, presented an industry perspective. She thinks that indeed industry has an interest in establishing common goals for resource governance. “It is of capital importance that different industry leaders come together and exchange about common goals and practices”, said De Margerie.

world forum on raw materials
Photo UBA

Prof. Bruno Oberle (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and Vice President of the WRF) argued that a possible platform on resource governance needs to present and disseminate solid, neutral and standardized data.

Concrete Proposals and Challenges for World Forum on Raw Materials

The FORAM project (Towards a World Forum on Raw Materials) is a new project that will be launched in Brussels at the end of the month (29 November) during the Raw Materials Week. The WRF Secretariat has been asked by the European Commission to lead a broad international consortium that will establish a group of stakeholders that will advance the idea for such Forum. Partners include EuroGeoSurveys and its wordlwide network, European Federation of Geologists, UN University and others. The FORAM project aims to initiate an international experts and stakeholders platform to enhance international cooperation on raw materials policies and investments. Information about FORAM can be found here (website under construction).

In a lively debate with the audience participants agreed that a platform on resource governance needs to be one of action and not only one of talking. They insisted on the need for an action-oriented approach in industry and governments connected to real decision makers.

world forum on raw materials
Xaver Edelmann, WRF President

The session on Advancing the idea of an international platform for resource governance was organized by the WRF Secretariat as part of the ERF and moderated by WRF Managing Director Bas de Leeuw. Xaver Edelmann presented a plenary overview of the main issues discussed. “We need to create value for the economy, society and environment. Key for success include cash and court, both financial and regulating drivers”, concluded the WRF President.

WRF staff Cecilia Matasci and Rafael Widmer
WRF staff Cecilia Matasci and Rafael Widmer

The 3rd European Resources Forum took place from 09 – 10 November 2016 in Berlin and was hosted by the German Environment Agency. The ERF addresses European decision-makers and experts from the fields of policy development, industry, academia, civil society and the media. Over 400 participants were present during the two days at the European Resources Forum. Looking back to three successful conferences, the next ERF will take place in two years time, end of November 2018.