Learn more about what the International Resource Panel is currently working on.

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      High-Impact Priority Areas

      The International Resource Panel is currently working on the research projects revolving around four High-Impact Priority Areas (detailed below) outlined in the 2018-2021 Work Programme. The High-Impact Priority Areas and the associated research projects were identified through a series of consultations with IRP members, partners, governments, businesses, civil societies, and UN bodies, who request the Panel's effective interference to fill in the knowledge gap and support decision-making on critical resource issues worldwide.

      1. Current trends and future prospects for global resource use and sustainable resource management

      The IRP provides insight into the status and trends of natural resource use globally and across regions. Through scenario modeling, it identifies the most promising policy options and outlines different pathways for countries as well as interlinkages and co-benefits between different policy areas.

      Upcoming projects and publications:

      • Expansion of the IRP Global Material Flows Database (ongoing)

      • Scenario Modeling of Integrated Natural Resource Use (ongoing)

      • Defining Sustainable Levels of Resource Use (2022)

      • Global Resources Outlook 2023 (2023)

      2. Sustainable resource management within the global climate change agenda

      The IRP studies the two-way interaction between climate action and sustainable resource management. The Summary for Policymakers on Resource Efficiency and Climate Change: Material Efficiency Strategies for a Low-Carbon Future was successfully launched at COP 25 in Madrid. Based on solid modelling, it suggests that some "material efficiency strategies" present significant and un-tapped potential to bring down GHG emissions and can help countries reach their climate goals in a less-costly manner with technology available today.

      3. Socioeconomic implications of the transition to more resource-efficient economies and societies

      The IRP will continue its evolution to more integrated ‘systems’ assessments. While much of the Panel’s research has focused on arresting the transgression of planetary boundaries while achieving economic development, the three upcoming studies will systematically investigate how to do so while also maintaining the ‘social floor’ (or minimum level of dignity and wellbeing for all).

      Upcoming publications:

      • Governing Sustainability Transitions in a Resource Dependent World (2022)

      • Socio-Economic Implications of Enhancing Resource Efficiency and Promoting a Circular Economy (2022)

      • Financing Mineral Resources Governance (2023)

      4. Sustainable resource management links to migration and conflict

      The IRP is developing a report exploring the interlinkages and pathways between natural resource availability/management and migration. It seeks to illustrate how more efficient and sustainable governance of natural resources can aid in managing and/or preventing displacement and associated challenges.

      Upcoming publication:

      • Resource Implications of Human Mobility and Migration (2022)


      Other research projects

      In addition to the research projects outlined in the Work Programme, the Panel also receives ad-hoc requests from international, regional, or national policy-making bodies (including G7, G20, European Commission, ASEAN, etc.) as well as business communities, think tanks, and civil societies to conduct scientific assessments on urgent policy-relevant topics.

      Upcoming publications:

      • Advancing the Circular Economy in Consumer Electronic Products Markets through Value Retention Processes (2023)


      Learn more about the IRP and how it conducts scientific assessments here.


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