Circular Economy Forum Highlights Need for Shared Vision, Leadership
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The WCEF provides a platform for consideration of the role that a circular economy can play as a vehicle for de-coupling economic growth from the ecological impact of natural resource consumption and as a means to implement the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

WCEF2018 discussed the need to, inter alia: establish a positive, long-term circular economy vision; build a global circular economy strategy with trajectories for advancement by 2030, 2050 and beyond; and engage strong political and business leadership.

24 October 2018: The second World Circular Economy Forum 2018 (WCEF2018) called for action across all countries and regions, highlighting that a circular economy is good for business, trade and job creation, but the world lacks a shared circular economy vision, and noting an urgent need for stronger leadership and international collaboration.

The Forum took place from 22-24 October 2018, in Yokohama, Japan, and brought together more than 1,100 experts and decision-makers from more than 80 countries. The WCEF is the world’s biggest global gathering on circular economy solutions. It provides a platform for consideration of the role that a circular economy can play as a vehicle for de-coupling economic growth from the ecological impact of natural resource consumption and as a means to implement the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Forum was jointly hosted by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ). At the opening, ministers from Finland and Japan described the potential of the circular economy to renew the global economy. Japan’s State Minister of the Environment Tsukasa Akimoto announced that Japan will advance the circular economy when it takes up the presidency of the Group of 20 countries (G20) in 2019. Finland’s Minister of the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen announced that Finland’s EU presidency of the EU Council of Ministers in 2019 will promote the circular economy and action to address climate change challenges. Mikko Kosonen, President, Sitra, reflected on the need for a compelling vision of a desirable future, and called on participants not to allow fear of the unknown to limit actions for a circular economy.

As reported by IISD’s Reporting Services, among the actions discussed at WCEF2018 to address key challenges were: establishing a positive, long-term circular economy vision; building a global circular economy strategy with trajectories for advancement by 2030, 2050 and beyond, and using the G20 and UN meetings as decision-making tools to establish that strategy; increasing trade of knowledge and services combined with local production close to markets to lessen environmental impact; and engaging strong political and business leadership.

The first World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2017) convened from 5-7 June 2017, in Helsinki, Finland. Topics included: integrating the circular economy into the 2030 Agenda; innovation challenges for the circular economy; circular cities; economic research on the circular economy; and financing the circular economy. The third WCEF will be convene in Helsinki, Finland, from 3-5 June 2019. [IISD RS coverage of WCEF2018]


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