WCEF2024 accelerator session:

The EU in the global circular economy transition: inspiration, incentives, and market leverage

The circular economy is taking root in a variety of countries in all regions of the world. The EU, as a frontrunner, is willing to engage with partners across the globe to promote the circular economy transition, using all the tools of external relations: trade and markets, green diplomacy, technical assistance, financial support. Are EU initiatives towards a circular economy transition a source of inspiration, paving the way for innovative policies, business and market practices, while bolstering competitiveness? Or do they risk creating barriers for market access or global trade? This Accelerator Session showcases a variety of experiences and partnerships supported by the EU to accelerate the circular economy transition. It aims to give voice to those inspired and drawn to the circular economy path and to gather feedback on the challenges that need to be addressed.

Why Attend?

  • Be Inspired: Learn from Elizabeth Tuerk, Director at UNECE, how the European path has catalysed a circular economy stakeholder platform for Central Asia and discover whether the African Union Continental Circular Economy Action Plan resembles the European one.
  • Delve into Challenges by exploring the situation of businesses in Asia and Eastern and Southern Africa, and find out how EU actions like the SWITCH-Asia programmes addresses these challenges.
  • Engage with Global Stakeholders like the Green Economy Coalition and the Green Growth Knowledge Partnership to explore how to reach and support large numbers of businesses and citizens in their transition to a circular economy.

Session Highlights:

WHERE: The Spaces, Rue Belliard 40, 1040 Brussels

WHEN: Thursday, April 18, 9:00 - 11:30

THE AGENDA (Click to get more details)

Remarks by European Commission Directorates General for International Partnerships  & Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)

A working group on the CE under the Ministry of Environment and  sustainable Development (MADS) worked intensively on the refinement of an
initial version of the national CE Strategy. The document was discussed in more than 20 events, such as regional workshops and conferences, expanding knowledge on the CE, creating acceptance of the CE Strategy, and both refining and validating its provisions.

Interviews with:

Elisabeth Türk, Director, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, UNECE

Lana Zutelija, EU Delegation to African Union

Stuart Worsley, Green Economy Coalition

Reactions to the poll from Guy Janaway, DG INTPA; Desk Officer for the SWITCH-Asia Programme and Matthias Reusing Head of Sector , EU Delegation to Zambia & COMESA

Presentation by Bernard Crabbé, Team Leader Environment Mainstreaming and Circular Economy, DG International Partnerships

Enhancing transparency and traceability for more sustainable value chains in the garment and footwear industry – implemented by UNECE

Support to SMEs in Latin America: the Al Invest Verde Programme – led by Sequa (tbc)

The Green Growth Knowledge Partnership and the Partnership on Action for the Green Economy implemented by the United Nations

The upcoming EU Circular Economy Resource Centre


Speakers in the Session

BERNARD CRABBE, Team Leader of the environment mainstreaming & circular economy at the European Commission, DG for International Partnerships (INTPA.F2)

An agricultural engineer by training, with a specialization in tropical agronomy and environment, Bernard has worked for more than 25 years on international cooperation, including 17 years in Mali, Laos, Madagascar, Ecuador and Uganda. He has worked for the United Nations, Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission. He has been in charge of environment and natural resources matters for the last 10 years, with a specific focus on forests, land, environment mainstreaming and green economy.

Elizabeth Tuerk, Director, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division,UNECE

Ms. Tuerk is Director of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Division (ECTD) at UNECE and leads the Division’s work across its four Sections: Cooperation and Partnerships, Innovative Policies Development, Market Access and Trade Facilitation. UNECE has set up a stakeholder engagement platform (Circular Step) to accelerate the circular transition in the UNECE region.

Sofía Martínez, Global Policy Director of the Green Economy Coalition (GEC)

Sofia is a senior expert in climate change, energy, sustainable finance, green economy, policy-making and international cooperation, boasting two decades of experience engaging with governments, private sector, civil society and communities across a range of sectors, from climate policy or access to clean energy to innovative financial instruments in the EU, Asia, Africa and Latin America. With a background in Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology, she started her career in research on efficient cooling and the impact of climate change on wetlands. As a public official, she made significant contributions at the European Commission (DG INTPA) the Spanish Energy Agency and the Spanish Office for Climate Change, where she played a pivotal role in policy, planning, regulatory initiatives, climate diplomacy, capacity building or programme delivery.

Dr. Mr. Douty CHIBAMBA, Ministry of Green Economy & Environment, Zambia (tbc)

Dr. Douty Chibamba serves as Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment.

Hannes Mac Nulty, Green Growth Knowledge Partnership

Hannes is the manager of the Green Industry Platform, one of the three platforms that make up the Green Growth Knowledge Partnership. A mechanical engineer with 20 years of experience working within the industry, government and NGO sectors, Hannes has an active interest in developing market-driven solutions that can deliver extensive upscaling of existing industry support programmes. His specific area of expertise is in resource efficiency and industrial decarbonisation, with a particular focus on bridging the communication gaps between related public and private sector stakeholders.

Lana Zutelija, EU Delegation to African Union

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Matthias Reusing, Head of Sector - European Green Deal, Rural Development and Trade, EUD Zambia and COMESA

Matthias Reusing has been managing very diverse and integrated sector portfolios throughout his career, taking him to assignments in Africa, Asia, Oceania and Europe. He started his career as a consultant in 1997 and worked in different functions for German co-operation in Ethiopia and Zambia until 2006, before he joined the EU Delegation to Sierra Leone. Having worked for 14 years in different African countries, his next assignment took him in 2010 to the EU Delegation to China and Mongolia in Beijing, China. Back at the European Commission HQ in Brussels, Reusing was since 2014 responsible for EU’s regional co-operation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He later took up a similar position, being in charge among others of regional co-operation with the Pacific region and bilateral co-operation with Timor-Leste, until his return to Zambia 2019.

Co-Moderation by ALEXANDER CHARALAMBOUS , Team Leader SWITCH to Green Facility

Alexander Charalambous leads the EU SWITCH to Green Facility, contributing to EU policy and implementation efforts towards a just transition to a circular economy globally. He is a senior partner at Living Prospects, a boutique consultancy firm specialising in the green/circular economy. An environmental planner by education, Alexander is also involved in the assessment of ecosystem services and green economy activities around selected nature parks - an EU funded study commissioned by DG INTPA.

UN PAGE (tbc)

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The world’s leading forum for circular economy thinkers, doers and leaders

This event is part of the World Circular Economy Forum 2024. WCEF2024 will gather together forward-looking thinkers and doers and present the game-changers in the circular economy. The Forum will be held from 15 to 18 April in Brussels, Belgium. WCEF2024 is organised by Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, and produced with Circle Economy Foundation (programme partner) and the International Resource Panel (science partner), in close collaboration with international partner organisations. Free of charge, open to all online .