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Circular Economy

Trade and Economic Cooperation for Circular Economy

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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. Following Member States’ decisions at the 69th Commission session on “Circular economy and the sustainable use of natural resources” and thriving during implementation of decisions of 70th Commission Session on "Digital and Green Transformations for Sustainable Development" UNECE is pooling efforts to help harness the power of trade and economic cooperation for the circular transition.

Approach / Mandates

UNECE’s Economic Cooperation and Trade Division (ECTD) identified five entry points, within its mandate, for promoting circularity in the UNECE region:

  • waste management (e.g. in agri-food sector);
  • sustainable and innovation-enhancing public procurement;
  • traceability of value chains;
  • standards and regulatory frameworks; and
  • efficiency of trade and logistics chains.
In focus
  • We will organize multiple events during the upcoming World Circular Economy Forum, 15-18 April 2024, Brussels, Belgium. For more information, please see the website of organizers: WCEF2024 - WCEF2024
  • ECTD is leading the implementation of a project Accelerating the transition towards a more circular economy in the UNECE region” (multi-agency UNDA project, 2021-2024).
  • To mobilise public and private investment for the transition to a more circular economy, ECTD is supporting UNECE’s Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the advancement of Guidelines on Promoting People-first PPP Waste-to-Energy Projects for the Circular Economy, and the development of Guidelines to Catalyse the Circular Economy Agenda throughout the PPP process.
  • ECTD is also supporting the work of the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) to create a Sustainable Development and Circular Economy Reference Data Model Support (SDCERDM). The Reference Data Model will ensure data compatibility and enable data interoperability among stakeholders in global value chains ensuring their compliance with sustainability requirements.
  • ECTD is serving the recently established Team of Specialists on Environmental, Social and Governance Traceability of Sustainable Value Chains in the Circular Economy, which is developing ESG traceability approaches and systems for the exchange of data and information along global value chains in priority industries for the circular transition.


Last update date: April 18, 2024