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State Secretary Raščan on challenges and opportunities of the circular economy during COVID-19

State Secretary Stanislav Raščan addressed the participants of today’s webinar on circular economy and challenges emerging during the pandemic, and briefly outlined Slovenia’s experience and cooperation with Latin American countries in this area. The webinar titled Circular Economy in the COVID-19 Era: Challenges and Opportunities is one of the introductory activities of the Latin American and Caribbean Days (LAC Days), an international conference planned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for spring 2021.

Today’s webinar was co-organised by the Ministry and the EU-LAC Foundation, with which an excellent partnership has been developed over recent years, including in the implementation of joint projects. In his opening address, Executive Director of the EU-LAC Foundation Adrián Bonilla stressed the importance of cooperation between the two regions and the establishment of partnerships, especially bi-regional ones, in projects of global importance, such as the circular economy.

State Secretary Raščan highlighted Slovenia’s cooperation with the EU-LAC Foundation in organising the LAC Days conference, which has developed into a partnership. This year, Slovenia will also make a financial contribution to the Foundation. The State Secretary went on to outline Slovenia’s approach to integrating the circular economy into the strategic development of countries. In his opinion, this complex systemic change will pave the way for a resilient, inclusive and fair socio-economic system that will preserve the planet and conserve its resources for future generations. Important steps in the circular economy have also been taken by the European Union, including the adoption of an ambitious Circular Economy Action Plan, and a proposal to establish a Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency.

In three different panels, the webinar addressed the circular economy and global outreach, national circular pathways and multilateral platforms. The panellists presented the experiences of Brazil (Beatriz Luz, Exchange4Change), Chile (Linnet Solway, EuroChile), and Paraguay (Fernando Britez, Kora Paraguay). Slovenia’s experience was presented by Janja Kreitmayer McKenzie, Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, and by Ladeja Godina Košir, European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform. The European Commission’s activities and plans in this area were presented by Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director General, DG DEVCO, and Thibault Portevin, DEVCO, C2. Environment, Natural Resources, Water. The multilateral aspects were addressed by Izabella Teixeira, Co-Chair of the International Resources Panel, and Denise Hamu, UNEP Brazil representative.

The circular economy will be included as one of the priorities of the Slovenian EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2021. Slovenia can boast several experts in this field, including Ladeja Godina Košir, Executive Director of the Circular Change Institute for Circular Economy, recently re-elected as Chair of the Coordination Group of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP), for which the Ministry extends its sincere congratulations.