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Building Circularity

We depend on nature to sustain livelihoods, but as a region of avid consumers, we also depend on nature to support our lifestyles. UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is working to reduce resource extraction and consumption by supporting the move to a circular economy.

Circularity to Restore the Earth

The concept of circularity allows us to advance sustainable consumption and production and transition to inclusive green economies. This is done by eliminating waste and pollution through intelligent design; keeping products and materials in use; and regenerating and growing natural wealth through economic and fiscal policies that nurture and embrace nature-based solutions.

World Circular Economy Forum 2021

UNEP was a core partner for the 2021 World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF). In collaboration with the Canadian Government, UNEP examined the implications of the transition to circularity for upstream resource producers and primary material exporters.

The WCEF was focused on systemic transformational change through actions of businesses, policy makers, civil society, and others, on the triple planetary crises: climate change; biodiversity loss; and pollution and waste. During the Forum, UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Andersen, identified four game changing actions for circularity: multilateralism on circular production and consumption; a just and informed transition; an economic and financial transformation of power; and knowledge, skills, and training investments for work access. Environmental justice also took centre stage with perspectives shared by diverse voices, including indigenous, youth and informal workers.

Additional circularity side events took place around the world throughout the year, similar to the 2020 Circular America event which focused on the opportunities, issues and challenges associated with advancing North America’s circular transition.