Our workshop “Circular economy for sustainable development" of cities and regions focused on capacity building and exchange of experience and good practices regarding concrete regional and city models, as well as practices to promote and realise the actual transition to circular economy. All participating partners in this workshop are also collaborating in the framework of the Interreg Europe Program for the implementation of the HIGHER project. The project has the objective of improving the innovation framework and the smart specialisation strategy of different EU regions. The HIGHER project will analyse and exchange experiences and good practices on the management and implementation of regional policy instruments designed to promote the innovation projects under the collaboration between research centres, industry and public authorities.
Six out of nine partners from the Interreg Europe HIGHER project presented successful cases, difficulties and solutions, developed during the project, underlining the role of the cities and regions as enablers of potential measures through which they could influence consumers and businesses. Moreover, overall governance, enabling businesses, public procurement, consumption and resource management were the topics which were discussed and debated at the workshop.
Take away message
• The circular economy could save life on Earth – starting with our cities. It is now or never. Time for procrastination is up!
• Overall governance, public procurement, consumption, resource management and enabling businesses are the main ingredients of the sustainable development and circular economy concepts within cities and regions.
• Cities and regions should take fully into account the circular economy approach while establishing further their strategic development documents to create ‘new urban or regional economies’.
Dr Janez Potočnik (former EU Commissioner, Co-Chair United Nations Environment Programme International Resource Panel): “Capital vs. Environment; if you think capital is more important than environment, try holding your breath while counting your money!”