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World Circular Economy Forum 2023

The 7th World Circular Economy Forum 2023 – WCEF2023 – was held from 30 May to 2 June in Helsinki, Finland. It was co-organised by Nordic Innovation and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. The Forum is one of the world’s leading events on the circular economy. It brings together leaders from business, government, academia, and civil society to discuss global issues and to find circular solutions to the challenges facing the world. It provides a platform for sharing knowledge and expertise, building networks and partnerships, and advancing the transition to a circular economy. Two representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds of Croatia, Partner in the Innovative Sustainable Economy Mission Institutional Dialogue Project, participated at the event.

WCEF2023: main highlights

The programme on 30–31 May consisted mainly of four plenary sessions and a total of 16 parallel sessions during which various stakeholders and policy makers, as well as representatives of public institutions, international organizations, and the business sector gathered. The plenaries explored cross-cutting themes for a diverse, global audience. Several questions had been raised on circularity’s role in the well-being of nature and the economy, youth’s role in the transition, circularity on financial markets, and future trends for a regenerative and resilient economy. The most important topics covered at the conference had been the following:

  • Unlocking finance for a circular and regenerative economy;
  • Circular solutions to green energy’s material demand;
  • How companies should measure their impact on nature;
  • New education for a changing world;
  • Solutions for circular trade;
  • Building blocks for a circular future: trends, policies, and solutions;
  • Circular strategies and road maps.

The participants also had access to networking and expo areas throughout the Forum.

On 1-2 June the accelerator sessions organised by WCEF2023 partners took place in the Helsinki region and online. These sessions bridged the Forum’s themes with the daily work needed for a circular transition by focusing on the implementation of existing action agendas. They were outcome-oriented and posed an opportunity for deeper audience engagement. WCEF2023 has provided a unique opportunity to create momentum for a nature-positive future. It presented an agenda focused on accelerating the needed transition over the coming years. Moreover, it occurred at a pivotal moment for economies, societies, and our planet in general. The most important conclusion was that the circular economy shows huge potential for innovation, job creation, and long-term economic growth. The final session has also presented the necessary steps in the transition, including the evolution of the European Green Deal.

Euro-MED approach towards the circular economy: the governance projects

 The circular economy represents one of the horizontal macro thematic areas of the Innovative Sustainable Economy Mission since circular solutions play a crucial role in the transition to a regenerative and resilient economy. In particular, the Mission aims at:

  • Reducing the environmental impact of the current linear production system in key sectors, such as agriculture, food and fisheries, and in the tourism sector. Promoting prevention, reduction and economic recovery of waste, including awareness raising and consumers engagement;
  • Increasing cooperation and capacities of stakeholders for closing the loops and support the transition to a circular model.

Expected results include:

  • Improvement of product sustainability and increased resilience of economic sectors;
  • Adoption of circular and sustainable practices to enable effective waste prevention, reduction and economic recovery;
  • Increased cooperation between stakeholders throughout the waste management value chain, including citizen/consumer involvement;
  • Development and adoption of circular economy strategies and their integration into existing policies.

The Mission governance projects will facilitate the emergence of innovative solution in this fields developed by the Thematic Projects that will be selected and by other grass root initiatives across the Mediterranean area, with the aim to amplify their impact and narrow the gap with policy making at regional and national level advocating the adoption of systemic and challenge-oriented approaches. In this framework, the Institutional Dialogue Project will contribute to the European Green Deal Strategy through the involvement of all actors for a climate-neutral and circular economy, mobilising research and fostering innovation.

The World Circular Economy Forum has been the chance to grasp high-level trends and debate from a wider geographical perspective and offered the opportunity to exchange and network with actors outside the Programme area.