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Circular Economy

Introduction

Circular Economy image

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

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

Highlights

Podcast: One world, zero waste? The circular economy explained

We only have one planet, but we are using up its resources at an unprecedented speed. With mounting pressure on the environment, the challenge today is to tackle waste and pollution, speed up climate action and keep the economy prosperous at the same time. To achieve this, the idea of a ‘circular economy’ is increasingly being embraced by political leaders, businesses, and citizens.  

But what does it mean in practice? From energy to forests, and from food to cars and clothing and beyond, UNECE's podcast "One world, zero waste? The circular economy explained" explores some of the key challenges and opportunities. Listen on Soundcloud or your favourite audio streaming platform.