This month, Costa Rica becomes an epicenter of the discussion about the circular economy and its role in the climate agenda and economic development. Within the framework of the “First Ministerial Summit on Environmental Sustainability” a parallel event was held this Friday, led by the Circular Economy Coalition of Latin America and the Caribbean, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), the Konrad Adenauer Foundation ( KAS) and the Intersectoral Circular Economy Committee of Costa Rica, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE).
The meeting sought to raise political ambition regarding the circular economy in the region, promoting inter-ministerial and multi-sector cooperation, and highlighting the economic and environmental benefits of this transition towards a model that seeks to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials and regenerate nature.
Among the key topics addressed during the meeting were international trends in circular economy, its role as a national economic strategy and for low carbon growth, promoting resilience to specific events, relevant examples for SMEs and the benefits that contributes to the economy.
Costa Rica has presented itself as a country at the forefront of the transition to a circular economy, having launched its National Circular Economy Strategy in the middle of this year, with the aim of strengthening the economy, competitiveness and social well-being through circularity of the resources. Among the objectives of the strategy is to reduce dependence on virgin materials of extractive origin, support the decarbonization of the energy matrix; promote the regeneration of natural systems and the preservation of biodiversity.
According to Luisa Santiago, executive director of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in Latin America, this country’s focus on the transition to the circular economy can serve as an example and inspiration for other countries in the region.
A lot to offer
“Costa Rica has a lot to offer other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean regarding the opportunities to put the circular economy at the center of a country’s development strategy. One of the fundamental aspects of the circular economy is the principle of the regeneration of nature. Costa Rica has understood this concept and, with a strategy that prioritizes the bioeconomy, decarbonization and regeneration of ecosystems, has demonstrated that it is possible to take advantage of natural resources for development while meeting its national and global environmental objectives. This awakens us to the enormous opportunity that Latin America and the Caribbean have to generate economic development based on its rich biodiversity and the knowledge of indigenous peoples.Economics on VAIVÉN, Circular Economy Festival.”
Circular Economy Festival in Latin America
To deepen discussions on the topic of the circular economy, it is taking place this October 9 and 10 at the College of SciencesThis festival, organized since 2020 by the Regional Energy Security and Climate Change Program of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) in collaboration with MINAE and the Coalition for the Circular Economy of Latin America and the Caribbean, seeks to promote and celebrate the development of the circular economy in 13 countries in the region.
Among the topics being discussed are national circular economy strategies in Latin America and the Caribbean; how to strengthen the Global Plastics Treaty agenda in the region; reuse as a priority strategy to eliminate plastic pollution; and regional synergies to facilitate the transition to a circular economy. As a circular economy specialist organization, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is participating with representatives on 3 of the 10 panels during the event.
The event, which is hybrid, seeks to bring together the main actors in the region, both in person and virtually, to build bridges that allow progress in the transition towards circularity. Through application workshops and interactive spaces, the Festival will complement the plenary sessions, offering an environment conducive to the exchange of ideas and collaboration.
The vital role of the circular economy for development in Latin America and the Caribbean
The circular economy is a model of systemic solutions based on three principles driven by design: eliminating waste and pollution, circulating products and materials, and regenerating nature. With these characteristics, it is presented as a unique opportunity for Costa Rica and the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean. By adopting this approach, countries can prosper in the long term by decoupling economic growth from the consumption of finite resources and regenerating nature, reducing carbon emissions and promoting environmentally positive products. This not only advances the goals of the Paris Agreement, but also drives innovation, competitiveness and job creation.