Geneva, 30 July 2019 With less than three months to go before the next World Resources Forum (WRF) 2019 will open its doors, the WRF Secretariat has published the latest WRF 2019 program update today. Highlights of this year’s program include confirmed plenary presentations by Olga Algayerová, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Ghana, Ernst von Weizsäcker, Honorary President, Club of Rome, and Izabella Teixeira, Co-Chair of the UN International Resource Panel. Business participation is stronger than ever, with speakers (some to be reconfirmed) from Nestlé-Nespresso, Aluminium Stewardship Organization, Confederation of Indian Industry, and US Chamber of Commerce. High-level speakers from China, Mexico and Peru are expected to join as well. Barbara Dubach (Head of the Swiss National Research Programme “Sustainable Economy” will be one of the conference moderators, together with WRF Managing Director Bas de Leeuw.
Workshops and side events will be organised by various organisations, including ESM Foundation, UNECE, EIT Raw Materials, UN Environment, GiZ, the German Development Cooperation Agency, University of Freiburg, Berlin Institute of Technology, Federation of German Scientists, the European Union H2020 project consortium CEWASTE and by Sustainable Recycling Industries project.
Conference fees this year range from CHF 190 (students) to CHF 590 (full conference). Early bird specials and other special rates apply. REGISTRATION HAS BEEN OPENED (Early Bird until August 31).
WRF 2019 will be held from 23 – 24 October 2019 at the Centre International de Conferences (CICG) in Geneva, Switzerland. WRF 2019 will be centered on the theme of ‘Anchoring Natural Resources and Raw Materials Management for Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production’. This topic was chosen to reinforce the dialogue that has started to gain international traction on resources and sustainable consumption and production. Notably, the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA)-4 in March of this year concluded with a Ministerial Declaration reaffirming that poverty eradication, promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production, and protecting the natural resource base of economic and social development are essential requirements for sustainable development. As a result of the ambitious outcomes of UNEA-4 and related conferences and networks, it is imperative and urgent now to anchor sustainable development considerations into all sectoral policies and make the link to sustainable consumption and production programs, based upon life-cycle approaches.
From UNEA4 to UNEA5
UN Environment’s International Resource Panel is working on this topic as well and has reported trends and findings to the 2019 United Nations Environment Assembly, held in Nairobi in March 2019. The Ministerial Declaration of the 2019 United Nations Environment Assembly has reaffirmed that poverty eradication, promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production and protecting the natural resource base of economic and social development are the essential requirements for sustainable development. Ministers have expressed their determination to improve national resource management strategies with an integrated full lifecycle approach to achieve resource-efficient and low-carbon economies.
The Ministers noted that resource extraction and processing of materials, fuels, and food accounts for more than 90 per cent of global biodiversity and water stress impacts, and approximately half of the global climate change emissions. They also recognized that sustainable management of metal and mineral resources contributes significantly to achieving the SDGs. The Ministers have requested that UN Environment establish a task group comprising the International Resource Panel and the One Planet Network in order to provide insights on the management of natural resources and raw materials in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and explore the potential offered by the different pathways towards sustainable consumption and production.
They also requested UN Environment to undertake a study based on a life-cycle approach and profiting from the work of the International Resource Panel and the One Planet Network, on the potential of current sustainable economic models for achieving sustainable consumption and production in certain sectors, such as plastics, textiles, and construction, and including through value retention processes, such as direct reuse, repair, refurbishment, and remanufacturing. The Ministers furthermore asked UN Environment to collect information on sustainable practices, identify knowledge gaps and options for implementation strategies, and undertake an overview of existing assessments of different governance initiatives and approaches on sustainable management of metal and mineral resources.
Achieving sustainable consumption and production is, according to the Ministers “only possible with the active support and participation of all stakeholders, in particular those who: extract and manage raw materials and natural resources, develop new materials, produce; design, manufacture, process and package goods, including food and services; sell products and services; make decisions on consumption and discard products; as well as those who manage waste and material recovery at the end of life as well as consumers with their consumption and disposal patterns.” The Ministers asked UN Environment to work on these issues together with, among others, the UNEP International Resource Panel and the One Planet Network, who are both partners of the World Resources Forum. Through its unique position as informal expert platform, with solid links to governments, businesses, science, and society at large, the World Resources Forum indeed contributes to global exchange of knowledge and improvement of international cooperation and will thus dedicate its upcoming conference to these issues.