Key EU supported initiatives on the Circular Economy draw interest at #WCEF2024

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The World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) 2024 held in Brussels, Belgium, brought together more than 1500 global frontrunners in circularity, with more than 1,500 attendees converging to drive sustainable change. Hosted from April 15 to 17, the event saw nearly 8,000 online participants from around the world, demonstrating the widespread interest and commitment to advancing circular economy principles.

Discussion at WCEF2024 Exhibition stand


With participants representing 158 countries, WCEF2024 served as a global platform for collaboration, knowledge exchange, and transformative action towards a more sustainable future.  

Among other the European Commission addressed the audience with an exhibition stand that highlights key EU policy proposals and showcases selected key initiatives funded by the EU to accelerate the circular economy. A map with QR codes drew many participants and allowed to retrieve further information on programmes funded and implemented by DG INTPA and DG NEAR.

Matthias Reusing from the EU Delegation to  Zambia highlights new project


The map already included a new action launched at the WCEF2024. In the closing plenary, Commissioner Urpilainen launched the “SWITCH to Circular Economy in East and Southern Africa” programme. The European Commission will contribute €40 million over five years to this programme, which will promote the transition to circular economies. It will focus on capacity building, policy support, and improved access to finance, particularly targeting the packaging and plastic waste as well as the electronics and e-waste value chains. the programme intends to reinforce partners’ support in fostering an inclusive transition to circular economy in East and Southern Africa. The activities will contribute to mitigation of climate change by promoting green and circular business models in packaging and plastic waste, as well electronics and e-waste value chains.

Following a South-South Twinning approach, the SWITCH-2-CE in ESA programme will entail:

  • Policy, regulatory and business enabling environment
  • Capacity building and human development
  • Access to finance through a matching grant facility (MGF) for young start-ups and SMEs. The MGF is also accessible to invest in joint ventures between African and European companies.

The European Commission is launching this programme in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) organisation.

WCEF EXPO AREA with audience visiting stands


At WCEF2024, the EU Commission stand was in the middle of an EU corner in the WCEF2024 exhibition area featuring a stand of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, the European Investment Bank and the Life and Horizon programmes.