Overview of WRF 2019

WRF Geneva 2019 Conference on Raw Materials & Sustainable Consumption and Production

Making Natural Resource Governance Fit for the 21st Century” is the leading theme of WRF2019, to be held in Geneva, October 23-24, 2019. It is the moment to continue the emerging dialogue on how we manage our natural resources. The mining of primary materials and the recycling and re-use of secondary materials face increasing economic, environmental, and social challenges. The World Resources Forum 2017, held in Geneva, was a sharp wake-up call that a massive international effort is needed in order to reach the objectives of the Paris Climate Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are tightly linked to natural resources.

The final report of the EC H2020 FORAM project, led by WRF on behalf of an international consortium, has identified important recommendations in the field of raw materials, and revealed a widely-felt need to improve international cooperation and governance, building on existing networks and initiatives. 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.

Through its unique position as informal expert platform, with solid links to governments, businesses, science and society at large, the World Resources Forum contributes to global exchange of knowledge and improvement of international cooperation, and will thus dedicate its upcoming conference to these issues.

Conference background

The final report of the EC H2020 FORAM project, led by WRF on behalf of an international consortium, one year later identified important recommendations in the field of raw materials, and revealed a widely-felt need to improve international cooperation and governance, building on existing networks and initiatives. Steps to improve international cooperation was discussed at the recent Raw Materials Summit in Berlin, May 2019, organized with EIT Raw Materials.

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.

Conference program

  • Plenary sessions: High-level business, science and policy dialogues
  • Workshops: Deep dive sessions on various topics, including raw materials and resource governance, e-waste recycling, certification schemes for waste treatment, sustainable lifestyles and education, consumer information
  • Scientific sessions: On policies and governance, technology, industry and environment, lifestyles, communication and education
  • Conference summary and awards
  • Social programme and visits

Visit our WRF 2019 Program page for more information.

Conference Theme

As a result of the ambitious outcomes of the United Nations Environment Assembly 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. Hence, the theme for World Resources Forum 2019, to be held in Geneva, from 23-24 October 2019, is “Anchoring Natural Resources and Raw Materials Management for Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”.

The main topics include:

  • Natural resource management
  • Primary materials
  • Recycling and re-using secondary materials
  • Natural resources and economic, environmental, and social challenges
  • Technological innovations for resource use
  • SDGs and the Paris Agreement
  • Livelihoods, quality of life, and natural resources

Call for Papers

The call for papers is closed. We look forward to exciting scientific sessions.

Key topics are:

  • Policies and Governance
  • Technology, Industry and Environment
  • Lifestyles, Communication and Education

WRF 2017 scientific papers can be found in the newly published WRF 2017 book