THE HAGUE, Netherlands, April 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Several commitments to achieve a worldwide circular economy were made on the two-day high-level World Circular Economy Forum + Climate (WCEF+Climate). The Netherlands Minister for the Environment, Stientje van Veldhoven, said, “With this summit, we ensured that circularity is seen worldwide as an inextricable part of solving the climate crisis.”
The conference was jointly organised by The Netherlands and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Among the attendees were ministers from dozens of countries, high level UN representatives and representatives of large companies and start-ups. “We must decouple economic growth from climate emissions and overconsumption. We need global collaboration, on the path towards autumn and the World Circular Economy Forum 2021 in Toronto, as well as UN’s Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, as parts of a circular transition towards a low carbon, climate proof economy,” said Jyrki Katainen, President of The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.
The WCEF+Climate clearly demonstrated the worldwide efforts towards a circular economy to reach our climate targets. Without a circular economy, it is difficult to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The smarter use of raw materials, greater reuse of goods and better recycling could account for a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions worldwide.
Young people have an impact
The We Are Tomorrow Global Partnership, a worldwide youth movement, played an important role at the conference. The Dutch youth climate movement got a seat at the table: they will be involved in policy discussions towards a circular economy in the Netherlands. Chairman Werner Schouten: “We are pleased that young people’s voice worldwide is becoming increasingly important. And in the Netherlands, we see that thousands of young people want to make an active contribution to a circular economy. The fact that we are allowed to participate in discussions with other stakeholders is another important step forward.”
Representatives of the United Nations included Amina Mohammed (Deputy Secretary-General), Inger Andersen (Executive Director UNEP) and Achim Steiner (Administrator, UNDP). Among the European Commission’s representatives was Frans Timmermans (Executive Vice-President). In more than 20 sessions, dozens of countries and companies pledged to work closer to increase the impact of existing circular initiatives.