26 June 2015 - 08 July 2015
New York, NY

UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

Launch the assessment of the International Resource Panel (IRP) on the resource implications of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG and Resources Paper

SDG and Resources Paper

Thematic Focus and contribution to the Post-2015 negotiations:

The side event will serve as a platform to launch the latest assessment of the International Resource Panel (IRP) on the resource implications of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will take place at lunchtime on July 6th. The IRP is a science-policy panel that was established by over 30 Member States, UNEP and other international organizations in 2007 to analyse the best available scientific knowledge on natural resource related issues. Using the systems thinking and holistic perspective and provide policy-relevant findings to governments and other stakeholders as a basis for developing sustainable development policies.

The sustainable management of natural resources will be critical for the fulfillment of the SDGs. Of the 17 Goals proposed by the Open Working Group (OWG), progress towards 12 directly depend upon the sustainable utilization of natural resources. Current trends of escalating unsustainable exploitation and use of natural resources will affect their future availability and accessibility and is therefore likely to impede the fulfillment of the Goals, particularly eradication of poverty and as well as disrupt critical earth system processes. Further, as natural resources are intrinsically interlinked, pathways and policies designed to accomplish one SDG may impede progress towards numerous others, across the whole spectrum of Goals.

The IRP has therefore analysed the proposed goals and targets, examining potential trade-offs and synergies from a resource nexus perspective. This event will present their main findings with the aim of drawing the attention of those involved in the process to several potential policy coherence issues. The assessment from the IRP recommends approaching the SDGs from a perspective of natural resource inputs, ensuring the ability to attain not just individual goals, but also addressing potential resource constraints which could limit or impede progress towards the Goals.

The Panel therefore makes the case for enhanced coherence and synergies between different goals and targets in the strategies and policies that will be developed at national, regional and global levels to work towards their achievement. The report calls for a relationship of reciprocity between the targets, and in particular between those addressing environmental or natural resource-related concerns and those aimed at the fulfillment of human development. This reciprocity would ensure that progress towards a target for one goal would strengthen the fulfillment of another, rather than impede or limit the attainment of other goals. The publication also highlights the need to adopt sustainable consumption (SCP) patterns in the pursuit of optimal resource management strategies in order to ensure the attainment of the Goals.

The event will include a discussion with representatives of Member States (Colombia, Kenya and European Commission) on the way forward for the implementation of the SDGs, including mechanisms to ensure adequate coordination between initiatives to achieve the respective goals at the national, regional and global levels.


  • Dr. Ashok Khosla, Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel, President of Development Alternatives, former president of IUCN
  • Dr. Janez Potočnik, Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel, former European Commissioner for the Environment
  • H.E. Ambassador María Emma Mejía Vélez, Vice-President of ECOSOC, Representative of the Government of Colombia (TBC)
  • Commissioner Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
  • Dr Alice Kaudia, Environment Secretary, Government of Kenya, Member of the Steering Committee of the International Resource Panel
  • Dr. Michael Obersteiner, Expert Member of the International Resource Panel and Program Director, Ecosystem Services and Management (ESM), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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Last edited: 27 August 2015


Michael Obersteiner

Senior Research Scholar

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 460

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

Meeting information


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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