The UN Economic Commission for Europe released a toolbox of instruments to support governments’ adoption of a more circular economy.
The instruments include legal frameworks, policy analysis documents, and good practice guidance.
The toolbox will be discussed during UNECE’s 69 session convening from 20-21 April 2021.
The UN Economic Commission for Europe released a toolbox of instruments to support governments’ adoption of a more circular economy. The instruments include legal frameworks, policy analysis documents, and good practice guidance.
Among the instruments, the document highlights UN regulations that help create a “loop” to optimize the use of resources, such as regulating the reuse of vehicle tire carcasses by renewing the tire’s tread and enabling it to have a second or third life.
Harnessing trade for circularity, one initiative aims to reduce food loss and waste in agricultural trade and supply chains.
The toolbox points to several resources on people-first public-private partnerships (PPPs), including Guidelines on Promoting People-first PPP in Waste-to-Energy Projects for the Circular Economy. Another resource is a set of good practices on promoting innovation for sustainable consumption and production.
Instruments to support circularity in energy include the UN Framework Classification for Resources, and recommendations on carbon capture and storage (CCS). In forestry and timber, a forthcoming study will discuss how the forest sector implements circular economy concepts. The toolbox notes that forest products are particularly suitable to circularity, noting for example that reuse and recycling are common in lumber salvage and paper recycling, and it is a long-standing practice to use waste throughout the wood products sector, for example in energy production.
UNECE aims to harness international trade’s contribution to circularity by addressing food loss and waste in agricultural trade and supply chains, among other initiatives.
The document cites an implementation framework aimed at improving circularity in cities, contained in the ‘Guide to Circular Cities’ prepared within the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) programme in 2019. It asserts that cities must begin to “rely on circular cycles of production and consumption within city boundaries” and strengthen the ability of their infrastructure to withstand natural and human-made shocks.
To improve measurement of the circular economy, the toolbox publication reports that the Conference of European Statisticians (CES) and other international organizations are developing a harmonized approach to measuring circular economy. A 2020 UNECE review of measuring circular economy provides a set of recommendations to this end.
The document adds that UNECE’s environmental performance reviews (EPRs) enable countries to assess progress in greening their economies. 15 UNECE members have conducted EPRs as of November 2020.
The toolbox will be discussed during UNECE’s 69th session convening from 20-21 April 2021. The theme of the session is ‘promoting circular economy and the sustainable use of natural resources in the region of the Economic Commission for Europe.’ Discussions will also be based on a UNECE report on trends and opportunities in circular economy for Europe: key challenges and opportunities. [Publication: Circular economy and the sustainable use of natural resources: Toolbox of instruments of the Economic Commission for Europe: Note by the secretariat] [UNECE press release on 69th session]