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Circular economy

The circular economy is a new and inclusive economic paradigm, that aims to minimize pollution and waste, extend product lifecycles and enable broad sharing of physical and natural assets. It strives for a competitive economy that creates green and decent jobs and keeps resource use within planetary boundaries. Recognizing the role of circularity in promoting sustainability, UNECE’s member States have held the 69th Commission session of UNECE under the thematic focus: “Promoting circular economy and sustainable use of natural resources in the UNECE region”.
The Economic Cooperation and Trade Division (ECTD) of the UNECE identified five entry points in promoting circularity in the UNECE region: (i) waste management and reduction; (ii) sustainable procurement; (iii) traceability of value chains; (iv) standards and regulatory frameworks and (v) efficiency of trade and logistics chains.


  • More information on ECTD's work on sustainability and circularity can be found here
  • To read more about events co-organized by Economic Cooperation and Trade Division at the 2021 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, see here
  • To read more about trade-related issues discussed at UNECE’s 69th Commission on the topic of the Circular economy and the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, see here

Accelerating the transition towards a circular economy

UNDA circular economy flyer

The transition to a circular economy is a priority in the UNECE region. It is a complex, cross-cutting challenge requiring policy interventions and coordination across many portfolios and dimensions, and ECTD leads implementation of a four-year (2021-2024) capacity-building project to support selected UNECE member States in the circular economy transition process. The project is funded by the UN Development Account. It aims to address challenges and opportunities in key target areas (subject to modification in line with beneficiary countries’ evolving policy priorities and demands):

  • Traceability of products along international value chains.
  • Sustainable public procurement.
  • The management of waste.

The project will strengthen national capacities in three thematic areas, by:

  • Creating a multi-stakeholder knowledge sharing network to develop and disseminate evidence-based good policy practices.
  • Conducting gap analyses to assess experiences and lessons learned and developing policy briefs for discussion at regional policy dialogues and national workshops.

Read more about project here. 

Background information

1. Sixty-ninth session of the Commission: Promoting circular economy and sustainable use of natural resources in the UNECE region (20-21 April 2021).

2. Promotional brochure on the UN DA four-year project Accelerating the transition towards a circular economy in the UNECE region is available here. 

Project outputs

Information will be available shortly.

Upcoming meetings

28 October 2021(10:00-12:00) - Regional Policy Dialogue: Harnessing trade and economic cooperation for the transition to a circular economy in the UNECE region (online). Please register here.

Media coverage

News release on the project launch is available here.

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