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Support Technological Transfer for Enhancing Circular Economy: EU

  • Published
    1st Mar, 2022
Context

The European Union called for support for technological transfer to enhance ‘circular economy’ at a working group meeting ahead of the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly.

About

What is circular economy?

  • A circular economy is an economic system of closed loops in which raw materials, components and products lose their value as little as possible, renewable energy sources are used and systems thinking is at the core.
  • It is a systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution.

 

About United Nations Environment Assembly:

  • The United Nations Environment Assembly was created in
  • The United Nations Environment Assembly is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment.
  • It addresses the critical environmental challenges facing the world today.
  • Understanding these challenges and preserving and rehabilitating our environment are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The Environment Assembly meets biennially to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law. 
  • The establishment of the Environment Assembly was the culmination of decades of international efforts, initiated at the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972.
  • It aimed at creating a coherent system of international environmental governance.

About Fifth session of UNEA (UNEA-5):

  • The theme UNEA-5 is “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
  • This highlights the pivotal role nature plays in our lives and in social, economic and environmental sustainable development.
  • UNEA-5 emphasizes that collectively we have the knowledge, technology and the resources to make the transition to a nature-positive future that will benefit our health, our economies and our future.
  • UNEA-5 will be followed by a Special Session of the UN Environment Assembly, UNEP@50, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the creation of UNEP in 1972.
  • UNEP@50 will be held online and in person in Nairobi.

African Case:

  • The African group, consisting of 54 countries from the continent urged the UN member states to transform markets for the uptake of a circular economy. 
  • This includes markets for products that promote direct reuse, repair, refurbishment and remanufacturing.
  • Sustainable public procurement is essential for promoting sustainable consumption and production.
  • Africa proposed that circular economy must become an integral component of the national and regional development plans.

Linear Economy vs Circular economy:

  • In a linear economy, products and resources are made, used and disposed. But in a circular economy they are recycled, repaired and reused
  • A circular economy entails markets that give incentives to reusing products, rather than scrapping them and then extracting new resources.
  • In such an economy, all forms of waste, such as clothes, scrap metal and obsolete electronics, are returned to the economy or used more efficiently.

India and Circular economy:

  • The Indian government claimed the country has been actively formulating policies and promoting projects to drive the country towards a circular economy.
  • Policies to drive the country towards a circular economy include the Plastic Waste Management Rules, e-Waste Management Rules, Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules and the Metals Recycling Policy.
  • Extended producer responsibility (EPR)is a critical policy mechanism for advancing the circular economy. It promotes the principle of “polluter pays” by holding the producer accountable for the entire lifecycle of the product.
  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in India released a draft EPR policy for management of plastic waste in India in 2021. 
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