Dear Minister, Organizers, Speakers and Participants,
I am grateful for the opportunity to address you, although only virtually, at today’s conference on Circular Economy.
This is an issue of high importance for Romania and for the World Bank and I want to thank Green Revolution, the main organiser of this Conference, for promoting such an event and launching a key platform for further debate and action on Circular Economy.
The concept of circular economy aims to find 3R solutions – REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE – to waste management and sustainable development.
It is critical to shifting the tone of the waste agenda from just a challenge to an opportunity and to push for the development of innovative solutions for the environmental challenges we are facing today.
At the World Bank, working with poor and rich countries across all continents, we have witnessed how countries can progressively shift their development models to embrace circular economy. And we have helped design and implement circular economy strategies and projects.
For example, we have helped China develop a new national legislation which has been in effect since 2009 – The China’s Circular Economy Promotion Law – the first CE law ever promulgated in a developing country. Since then, several CE projects have been implemented in China, on solid waste minimization and recycling, including with World Bank financing.
In Romania, the World Bank is working closely with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forestry to help design and implement a new, evidence based, CLIMATE CHANGE AND GREEN GROWTH STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN.
Such strategy, which is currently under public consultation and available in the Ministry’s website, has among its mitigation objectives:
the promotion of waste prevention;
increasing the reuse or recycling of commodities in the waste stream;
reducing the amount of materials to be managed as waste;
composting organic waste;
and producing energy from waste via combustion.
With circular economy at the heart of the resource efficiency agenda under the Europe 2020 strategy, Europe has made substantial progress in turning waste into a resource and promoting sustainable ways of waste management.
But in Romania waste management standards are still far below the European averages with low levels of re‐use, recycling and energy recovery. I am sure you will have very interesting discussions today on how to deal with these challenges, but let me provide some suggestions:
First, Romania should continue to accellerate its efforts to comply with the European Waste Framework Directive. This requires accellerating existing waste related projects and launching new ones, financed through EU Funds.
Second, it should ensure that less waste is generated. Waste prevention programmes can play a major role for this purpose. We are too far from the Directive’s objectices of reusing and recycling at least 50% of the paper, metal, glass and plastics from household waste. And, by 2020, reusing, recycling and recovering at least 70% of construction and demolition waste.
Third, Romania should strengthen and expand integrated waste management circular economy models. This would require the use of appropriate regulatory measures and market based solutions, to reduce costs and take advantage of the opportunities, especially for the private sector, from Circular Economy.
At the World Bank we remain available to support the country’s efforts towards finding sustainable solutions for waste management and to further promote circular economy model in Romania.
Thank you for listening.