UN-organised events at Green Week

The Transition towards a resource efficient economy" in partnership with UNEP

Tuesday 24 May – 16.30 – 18.00

UNEP’s International Resource Panel is an independent group of international experts whose global scientific assessments seek to improve understanding of ways to increase resource efficiency. Their assessments show global resource use escalating in parallel with rising population and wealth. But some resource efficiency improvements have been noted, indicating an enormous potential to increase resource efficiency in developed and developing countries. This session will analyse the current and future resource use patterns, and consider options to improve resource efficiency.


  • Prof. Dr.Ernst von Weizsäcker, Co-Chair, UNEP’s International Resource Panel
  • Prof.Mark Swilling, Programme Coordinator for Sustainable Development, School of Public Management and Planning, Stellenbosch University, Member of UNEP’s International Resource Panel
  • ProfSangwon Suh, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Member of UNEP’s International Resource Panel
  • Chair:Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP

International Resource Panel – Decoupling Report press briefing

Thursday 26 May – 14:30 – 16:00

What does the only international, independent scientific panel of experts on resource use have to say about resource efficiency?  Experts from UNEP’s International Resource Panel, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Mark Swilling, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, and Thomas Graedel will be available for Q and A on how the dilemma of expanding economic activities equitably while attempting to stabilise the rate of resource use and reducing the environmental impacts poses an unprecedented opportunity and challenge to society.  Thomas Graedel will be available to present findings of the latest report on the recycling rates of metals.

This event will be of interest to specialist environment and economics journalists and journalists from trade publications related to metal use and recycling.


  • Mr Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary General, UNEP Executive Director (tbc)
  • Prof. Dr. Ernst von Weizsäcker, Co-Chair, UNEP International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management
  • Prof. Mark Swilling, Programme Coordinator for Sustainable Development, School of Public Management and Planning, Stellenbosch University
  • Prof Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Institute of Social Ecology Vienna, Director, Alpen-Adria University

The United Nations conference on sustainable development in 2012: can it deliver on resource efficiency?

Thursday 26 May – 16.30 – 18.00

In 2012, the UN will host a major conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. The conference, known as Rio+20 as it coincides with the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, is intended to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development. It will assess progress to date, identify gaps in the implementation of commitments and address emerging challenges, with a focus on two major themes: "a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication" and "the institutional framework for sustainable development". The EU has a strong interest in both themes, as its 2020 objectives aim for sustainable, resource-efficient and low-carbon economy, and the Summit offers an opportunity to pursue this objective at global level. UNCSD also offers a platform to move forward the EU’s long-standing agenda to improve global governance.


  • Mr Achim Steiner, Executive Director UNEP
  • Dr Mohamed Ait Kadi, Chair Technical Committee, Global Water Partnership
  • Joost Oorthuizen, Director, Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative
  • Moderator: Timo Makela, Director International Affairs, LIFE & Eco-Innovation, DG Environment, European Commission

The Great Green Economy Debate: Pathways to Sustainable Development & Poverty Eradication”

Thursday 26 May – 18.30 – 19.30

Will investing 2% of global GDP into ten key sectors kick-start a transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy? This debate brings together representatives from a variety of viewpoints to consider whether the Green Economy comprehensively challenges the myth of a trade off between environmental investments and economic growth and instead points to a current “gross misallocation of capital”. Furthermore, the panel will consider whether the Green Economy is not only relevant to more developed economies or if it has the potential to be a key catalyst for growth and poverty eradication in developing ones too.


  • Mr Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary General, UNEP Executive Director
  • Mr Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment
  • Ms Rosa Aguilar Rivero, Minister for Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs, Spain
  • Ms Martina Bianchini, Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Dow Chemical and ICC Green Economy Task Force Chairperson, Belgium
  • Prof Zhu Dajian, the Director of Sustainable Development and Management Research Institute, Tongji University, China
  • Mr Aron Belinky, International Processes Coordinator at the Vitae Civilis Institute, Brazil
  • Moderator: Mr John Vidal, The Guardian – Environment Editor

Film screening:  “Amazon Alive”

Thursday 26 May 18.30

Amazon Alive" from the International Forest Film Festival with introduction by director Christian Baumeister.