Thailand and Germany push global knowledge exchange to rethink Circular Economy

from 25- 27  September 2019 –The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in collaboration with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) organised the “Reduce! Rethinking the Circular Economy: A global knowledge exchange on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 policy tools” at Mövenpick BDMS Wellness Resort Bangkok. The event aimed to rethink how the Circular Economy can solve the environmental crisis, and how, by bringing together the global experiences and best practices on SDG 12 “Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP)”, global collaboration for SCP, Green Public Procurement and Ecolabeling can be developed.

 

With the environmental crises at our doorsteps, most world leaders understood that our future economies must function within earth’ environmental carrying capacity: its planetary boundaries. This requires a more radical transformation. We need to rethink the linear economy paradigm starting from the top of the ‘3R’ pyramid: Reduction! Therefore, the event exchanges on available and emerging policy instruments to make products greener, such as eco-labeling, green public procurement, eco-design, and the top-runner approach. Officials will also explore pioneering market-based instruments such as Extended Producer Responsibility and discover innovations in digital business models. Participants comprise of high-ranking government representatives, academician, think tanks and private sector from Asia, Latin America, Africa and the EU.

 

Mr. Kai Hofmann, Director of Advancing Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in South East Asia Project, GIZ Thailand said: “Today, 160 representatives from 17 countries convene in Bangkok to learn best practices on how to develop Circular Economy beyond waste management. Circular Economy is not only about recycling, but also about increasing the lifespan and efficiency of products, turning products to services or even dematerialising the product all together.”

 

“Think of the music industry: In former times we needed CDs and a player to listen to music – today we stream all music from the internet – an almost complete dematerialisation.”, he added.

 

Mr. Suphot Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) said: “Thailand is today one of the leading countries in Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) reforms and a front runner in Circular Economy development. Thailand has integrated SCP with various national policy frameworks. The 20-Year Roadmap for SCP (2017-2036) has been established in a cooperative manner to further promote efficient use of resources, pollution reduction, and food and energy security. It includes medium- and long-term plans and strategies on sustainable industry, tourism, agriculture and procurement, green labeling schemes, as well as road map on plastic waste. Thailand and all ASEAN countries also have “Bangkok Declaration 2019 on Marine Plastic Debris Management” to against plastic waste. These all to meet our global Green-House-Gas reduction commitments.”

 

“However, this is a complex global issue; Thailand can’t overcome this global challenge alone. It requires cooperation at both regional and global levels. This year, Thailand set the theme for its ASEAN Chairmanship as “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.” We need to increase our cooperation and strengthen our resilience against shocks by advancing our regional architecture. We need to build stronger cooperation. It requires listening and learning, negotiating and compromising, but above all it requires a common goal.”, he added.

 

H.E. Mr. Georg Schmidt, The German Ambassador to Thailand said: ““In New York during the UN Climate Action Summit 77 countries have pledged carbon-neutrality by 2050. Germany is part of this club and just adopted an ambitious Climate Action Programme. Germany is known for its efforts to green the economy. We are one of the top-runners in resource-efficiency and Germany has developed the first eco-label in the world back in the 1970th the “Blue Angel”.

 

“However, there is no time to rest on our laurels, we all must press ahead with policy changes. The cost of inaction would be far greater for future generations than the costs of actions taken today. We need to shift from ‘Take-Make-Waste’ to circular. Circular Economy has also net benefits for the economy, since valuable resources are recovered and reused.”

 

“Germany is Thailand’s most important bilateral climate partner. Germany shares its experiences with Thailand on renewable energy, resource efficiency and combating climate change by providing policy advice for an appropriate and efficient regulatory framework and by implementing on-the-ground projects in Thailand, e.g. on waste management, flood preventing measures or the production of energy efficient refrigerators. Overall the German government has spent 60 million EUR since 2008 on such bilateral projects in Thailand – and is willing to do so in the future. Furthermore, Germany supports nine Asian countries, two Latin American and two African countries to implement their global environmental commitments for SDG 12 towards Circular Economy.”, he added.

 

The global knowledge exchange is hosted by the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

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