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  • Marie Mullen

Driving the Circular Economy Agenda Forward at COP28

The 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) is taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 30 November to 12 December 2023. The COP takes place every year, acting as the world’s only multilateral decision-making forum on climate change. During the COP, the world comes together to address the climate crisis and provide agreements on various mitigation strategies such as limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, helping vulnerable communities adapt to the effects of climate change, and achieving net-zero emissions. With almost complete membership of every country in the world, COP28 is expected to have over 70,000 delegates in attendance including member states (or parties) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), business leaders, youth representatives, climate scientists, Indigenous Peoples, journalists, and various other experts and stakeholders. 

COP28 is promoting an Action Agenda, designed to move the world from agreement to action. The COP President-Designate, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, wrote a letter to participating parties outlining the vision of the conference as well as necessary paradigm shifts. He wrote, “Together, we can accelerate a transition that puts our economies on the path toward a new low-carbon, high-growth, sustainable economic model in a way that is both transformational and just.” To do this, focus must be placed on four paradigm shifts; fast-tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030; transforming climate finance, by delivering on old promises and setting the framework for a new deal on finance; putting nature, people, lives, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action; mobilizing for the most inclusive COP yet.

With economic transition at the forefront of discussions at COP28, the circular economy is expected to be widely talked about at a range of events. The Ellen Macarthur Foundation is participating in a number of events to demonstrate the need for a transition away from a linear economy to a circular economy. These events range from general concepts, such as the event on“Circular Economy: A Path to Climate Solutions and Sustainable Development” to location-based events such as “How the Circular Economy Can Support China’s Carbon Emissions Reduction” or sector-based such as  “The Fashion Industry on the race to zero: circular economy and why it matters for fashion.”

Another circular economy event organized by the COP28 Energy Team titled “Unlocking the Potential of Circular Economy and Sustainable Consumption and Production for Heightened Climate Ambition in Central Asia,” is key because their efforts span across 42 nations. Through the presentation and panel discussion, this event aims to identify and deliberate on the current global understanding of the linkages between climate change and sustainable consumption and production (SCP), identify the opportunities to integrate SCP/circular economy (CE) into climate actions to harness synergies and co-benefits in the Central Asian context and identify the challenges and solutions in deploying SCP/CE strategies to enhance climate ambition and actions in Central Asia. 

Despite COP28 not having started just yet, that has not stopped the discussions from beginning. On November 23rd, 2023, an event titled “Bringing the Circular Economy to the Center of COP28 Climate Action” kicked off the conversation around the circular economy. Organized by The Green Growth Knowledge Partnership and GO4SDGs, the webinar brought together leading experts from various organizations to share insights on how key circular economy activities can effectively contribute to the climate change mitigation goals resulting from COP28 negotiations. 

As the events of COP28 unfold, our next news pieces will highlight events and discussions happening on the circular economy during and after the conference. 


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