Launching the Alliance, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “The transition to a resource-efficient, clean and circular economy is increasingly recognised as a must to address the ecological crises the world is confronted with. The circular economy offers opportunities for spurring innovation and making the transition more equitable by creating green jobs and lowering environmental impacts. With today’s launch of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency, the EU shows its commitment to work on those matters globally.”
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme, said: “Circularity and sustainable consumption and production are essential to deliver on every multilateral agreement, from the Sustainable Development Goals, to the Paris Agreement to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework that we must agree on soon. They are essential to a sustainable recovery from the pandemic.”
Bringing together governments and relevant networks and organisations, GACERE aims to provide a global impetus for initiatives related to the circular economy transition, resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production. It will build on efforts being deployed internationally and put the EU at the forefront of the green transition. Eleven countries (Canada, Chile, Colombia, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Rwanda and South Africa) and the EU have joined the Alliance to date.
The fifth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA5), taking place on 22 and 23 January, will set global priorities to address the multiple environmental crises of our time, including climate, biodiversity and pollution. Participants will address the need for a green recovery in a post-pandemic world, and will look in particular at how sustainable development can tackle the unsustainable patterns that have driven environmental degradation and led to these crises.
The run-up to UNEA5 also saw the launch of a synthesis report, co-funded by the EU, “Making Peace with Nature”, which brings together findings of a number of global scientific assessments that look at the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises together. According to the report, the world can transform its relationship with nature and tackle the climate, nature and pollution crises together to secure a sustainable future and prevent future pandemics. The report also stresses that COVID-19 recovery plans are an unmissable opportunity to invest in nature and reach net zero emissions by 2030.
Participants of UNEA-5 will reconvene in February 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya, in particular to discuss the possible kick-start of negotiations of a global agreement to curb plastic pollution.
UNEA is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment. The Environment Assembly meets biennially to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law. Through its resolutions and calls to action, the Assembly provides leadership and acts as a catalyst on intergovernmental action on the environment.