The PAGE and UN partners side event at the COP27, on November 9, discussed how circular economy principles and practices can serve as a catalyst to promoting human well-being, preserving nature, cutting pollution, and making economies more competitive. By bringing together representatives of governments, UN agencies, private sector, think tanks and youth, the event explored the enabling factors for accelerating the global shift towards circular economy, within the context of just, inclusive, and sustainable development.
“We really also need to look not only at how we power the system […] but also how we run the system, so how we produce and how we consume. […] we need to think to move from a linear system where we take, make and waste to a circular system” said Miranda Schnitger, Climate Lead at the MacArthur Foundation who moderated the session.
The discussion included Mr Gerd Mueller, Director General UNIDO; the H.E. Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Minister for Environment, Republic of Rwanda; HRH. Ms. Mashael bint Saud AlShalan, Co-Founder, Aeon Collective, Kingdom Saudi Arabia; Dr. Medrilzam, Director of Environmental Affairs, Ministry of National Development Planning, Indonesia; Mr. Xuan Zihan, YOUNGO Cities and Green Jobs Working Groups representative and Mr. Robert Marinkovic, Adviser, Climate Change, IOE. Ms Miranda Schnitger, Climate Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation acted as the moderator.
Mr. Gerd Mueller, Director General of UNIDO opened the event with a keynote in which he also pointed out the multidisciplinary nature of circular economy. “Addressing the climate challenge presents a golden opportunity to promote prosperity, security and a brighter future for all. Climate action can bring more than USD 26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030. 65 million new green jobs could also be created through our efforts”, he said.
In the opening of the panel, the minister of Environment Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya shared barriers and actions related to circular economy in Rwanda. For instance, the ban of plastic bags has unveiled the potential of circular economy. “We make sure that no waste is wasted. Everything is used, re-used and repaired because it creates green jobs”, said the minister whose country will host the next World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) in December.
In the panel discussion, the participants declared that a transitioning from a linear to a circular economy requires a coordinated effort to leverage systemic action across government, private sector, and civil society.
“Circular Economy is global challenge, one that requires clarity, inclusion and consistency […] we really need to rise up to the responsibility to tackle these complex triple threats”, said HRH. Ms. Mashael bint Saud AlShalan, Co-Founder of Aeon Collective, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Commenting on the implementation of the circular economy in Indonesia, Dr. Medrilzam, Director of Environmental Affairs at ministry of National Development Planning of Indonesia, highlighted that “there are many aspects that we are implementing to push the circular economy, but certainly collaboration is key. We believe that it can strengthen the implementation of circular economy”. Indonesia aims goal to become a full circular economy in the coming years.