Almost all countries in the UNECE region, covering US, Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, have adopted national policies which are directly or indirectly related to the sustainable management of natural resources and the circular economy.
Multiple international forums discuss circular economy independently or in the context of various policy areas, including the WTO Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions launched in 2020, zooming into the circular economy and trade nexus.
Until today there was no regional platform for policy dialogue tailored to the needs of the UNECE region, that can bring together developed and emerging economies in the circular economy transition and support achievement of SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production.
To bridge this gap, UNECE is launching a new platform – CIRCULAR STEP – to facilitate exchanges of experience, share best practices and engage stakeholders in the circular economy transition. The platform will unite governments, private sector, academic and research institutions, civil society, and other actors from all 56 member States.
CIRCULAR STEP - an acronym for Stakeholder Engagement Platform - was launched at the Policy Dialogue “Institutional Arrangements for the Circular Economy and the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources” organized on 6 April 2022 during the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development. The event was organized in the framework of the four-year project funded by the United Nations Development Account (UNDA) Accelerating the Transition towards a Circular Economy in the UNECE region, which enables UNECE to implement practical tools on the national level in UNECE transition economies, contributing to the development of national gap analysis and develop roadmaps for the circular economy acceleration in priority sectors of economy.
“Strengthening cooperation among Member States is a core objective of UNECE and the UNDA Circular Economy project. I am excited that CIRCULAR STEP will offer a platform for Member States and other stakeholders to share experiences and practical solutions that can benefit policymaking in the entire region”, stated UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary of UNECE Dmitry Mariyasin.
Circular STEP aims at addressing three overall challenges that hamper concrete progress on the circular economy in the UNECE region:
- Low visibility of the specificities of transition economies in the overall circular economy policy debate.
- E.g., Lack of information about circular economy initiatives, their relationship to other policy areas, and institutional arrangements in transition economies.
- Lack of capacity in transition economies to design and implement effective circularity policies
- E.g., Limited access by policymakers from transition economies to information about circular best practices, solutions, and policy frameworks.
- Significant investment and financing gaps in transition economies for the circular economy transition.
- E.g., Limited awareness of potential investors and financiers about circular economy needs and potentials in transition economies.
CIRCULAR STEP will support transition economies in meeting these and other challenges, with a priority focus on the wide range of economic issues addressed by UNECE (e.g., trade, innovative public procurement, waste management, small and medium enterprises, traceability of value chains, institutional arrangements, financing, and digital solutions in the circular economy transition).
Membership in CIRCULAR STEP is free of charge for all participating stakeholders. Please express your interest to join the platform by sending your request to [email protected]. The intention to join might be also expressed via an official letter signed by the management of your organization.