The EU in the global circular economy transition: Inspiration, incentives, and market leverage

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The EU in the global circular economy transition: Inspiration, incentives, and market leverage
Type: Conference
Location: The Space, Rue ...
Organizer: European Commission Directorate General for International Partnerships
World Circular Economy Forum 2024 Accelerator Session

WHEN: Thursday, 18 April 2024   I   TIME:  9:00 - 11:30 (Brussels Time)  I   WHERE:  The Space, Rue Belliard 40, 1040 Brussels   


The circular economy is taking root in a variety of countries in all regions of the world. The EU, as a frontrunner, is willing to engage with partners across the globe to promote the circular economy transition, using all the tools of external relations: trade and markets, green diplomacy, technical assistance, financial support.

Are EU initiatives towards a circular economy transition a source of inspiration, paving the way for innovative policies, business and market practices, while bolstering competitiveness? Or do they risk creating barriers for market access or global trade?

This Accelerator Session is organised in the context of the World Circular Economy Forum 2024 and showcases a variety of experiences and partnerships supported by the EU to accelerate the circular economy transition. It aims to give voice to those inspired and drawn to the circular economy path and to gather feedback on the challenges that need to be addressed.

This hybrid session is organised by the European Commission Directorate General for International Partnerships, co-organised by the EU SWITCH-Asia Programme, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, and the Partnership for Action on the Green Economy with support of the SWITCH to Green Facility.

Why Attend?

  • Be Inspired: Learn from Elizabeth Tuerk, Director at UNECE, how the European path has catalysed a circular economy stakeholder platform for Central Asia and discover whether the African Union Continental Circular Economy Action Plan resembles the European one.
  • Delve Into Challenges by exploring the situation of businesses in Asia and Eastern and Southern Africa and find out how EU actions like the SWITCH-Asia programme address these challenges.
  • Discover the latest policies on circular economy presented by the Directorate General for Environment.
  • Engage with Global Stakeholders like the Green Economy Coalition and the Green Growth Knowledge Platform to explore how to reach and support large numbers of businesses and citizens in their transition to a circular economy.

Session Highlights:

  • Strategic Insights: Gain valuable insights from the Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA) on their external relation toolbox and their strategic approach to supporting the transition to a circular economy.
  • Examples from the field: Learn from the success stories of the EU funded Al-Invest Verde programme, which targets SMEs in Latin America, and the Enhancing Transparency and Traceability for More Sustainable Value Chains in the Garment and Footwear Industry project operating in Uzbekistan.
  • Collaborative Support: Discover the global assistance provided by EU (co-)funded initiatives, such as the Partnership for Action on the Green Economy and the upcoming EU Circular Economy Resource Centre.


Niclas Gottmann, Policy officer, European Commission DG International Partnershipsand

Alexander Charalambous, Team leader, SWITCH to Green Facility
















Welcome Coffee & Registration




Welcome and Opening remarks 

Ms Carla Montesi, Director, DG INTPA 

Opening Remarks

Mr Matthieu Bousquet, Director, DG NEAR


Presentation of EU Policy Proposals on the Circular Economy by DG Environment

Ms Astrid Schomaker Director, DG Environment


Interviews: Are EU initiatives on the circular economy a source of inspiration for policy makers and business in Partner countries? Do they provide enough incentives for partner countries to turn circular?

  • Mr Dilshod Sharifi, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Tajikistan
  • Dr. Mohamed Kadah, ASG for Programmes, COMESA Secretariat
  • Harsen Nyambe, AUC Director for Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy, on the Continental CE Action Plan 


Audience Interaction via SLIDO:

Inspiration, Incentive or Market leverage?  SLIDO Poll

Niclas Gottmann, DG INTPA


Reaction to the poll results:

  •  Guy JANAWAY, DG INTPA, Desk Officer for Japan and SWITCH-Asia Programme Manager
  •  Matthias Reusing, EU Delegation to Zambia & COMESA











Examples from the national level:

  • Mr Tatheer Zaidi Solidaridad India

SWITCH-Asia grant project: Promoting Circularity in the Tamil Nadu leather clusters for solid waste management

  • Elisabeth Türk, Director, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, UNECE

Enhancing transparency and traceability for more sustainable value chains in the garment and footwear industry

  • Oussama Hasnaoui Amri, ECCBC Coca-Cola Bottler Systems and Sustainability Manager

An example from the regional level:

  • Support to SMEs in LAC The Al Invest Verde Programme


Examples from the global level:

  • Hannes Mc Nulty, Green Growth Knowledge Parternship
  • Sofia Martinez, Green Economy Coalition
  • Kgauta Mokoena – Chief Director – Chemicals Waste Policy and Information, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (South Africa) PAGE


Questions and Answers




Closing Remarks 

Chantal Marijnissen, DG INTPA Head of Unit F2