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Circular Economy


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The use of material resources has increased more than ten times since 1900 and is set to double again by 2030.  

The UNECE region is a major user and producer of natural resources. Their production and consumption require enormous energy and leads to environmental degradation and increased vulnerability to climate change. Transitioning to a more circular economy and sustainable use of natural resources is therefore crucial for the region.

UNECE provides a variety of tools that can facilitate the widespread adoption of this approach. This shift offers a unique catalyst for cross-cutting SDGs progress, accelerating the move to greener and more resilient economies needed to recover better from the COVID-19 crisis.

In focus

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69th Commission session 

UNECE member States made a united call at the 69th session of the Commission to accelerate the shift to a circular economy and greener, more responsible resource use. At the session, governments announced commitments for bold action to strengthen measures for circularity and sustainable resource use, and shared concrete experiences, ranging from targeted actions, to comprehensive circularity strategies and initiatives.

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Wheel SDGs with Olga

Let's raise our ambition

“The 2021 Circularity Gap Report estimates that the global circularity rate (recovered materials as percentage of overall materials used) stands at 8.6%, down from 9.1%  in 2018. In the EU, the rate increased from 8.3% in 2004 to 11.9% in 2019, but with very slow progression since 2012.

At the 69th session of the Commission in April 2021, governments announced commitments for bold action to strengthen measures for circularity and sustainable resource use. Building on governments’ commitments, let’s raise our collective ambition and reach double digit circularity rates in all countries of the region by 2023, when we will review progress.”

Olga Algayerova
Executive Secretary


To address the lack of a measurement framework, the 69th plenary session of the Conference of European Statisticians (23-25 June) launches a UNECE Task Force on Measuring the Circular Economy. It will work in the coming two years to define the measurement scope of circular economy and prepare practical Guidelines to measure its most important aspects in a systematic and internationally comparable way. 

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