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The round table Potential and perspective directions of the development of the closed-cycle economy in Belarus
The round table "Potential and perspective directions of the development of the closed-cycle economy in Belarus" was held on October 18 in Minsk within the framework of the XX International Conference in the NIHEI of the Ministry of Economy with the support of the United Nations Development Programme in the Republic of Belarus and the Programme of Support to Belarus of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The participants were greeted by Yuri Adamovich Chebotar, Deputy Minister of Economy, Alexandra Solovieva, UNDP Resident Representative in the Republic of Belarus and Astrid Zam, Executive Director of the Dortmund International Education Centre. The round table was attended by representatives of government agencies, NGOs and the business community. The round table discussed the possibilities and prospects of circular economy in Belarus, the experience of private companies in the field of waste management and the results of the project on green economy.
Closed-loop economy (circular economy) is the main component of sustainable development and green economy. In this paradigm, once created value is preserved in the economy for the longest possible period of time. The focus is on all phases of the product life cycle: product design, raw material extraction, production, marketing, use and waste management. The cycle can be closed at different levels: energy, raw materials, entire products, individual components. In the circular economy, the system of 5R principles is important: Reduce (consumption reduction), Reuse, Repair, Remanufacture, Recycle . The introduction of circular economy is an important contribution to Sustainable Development Goals 8 (decent work and economic growth), 9 (industrialization, innovation and infrastructure) and 12 (responsible consumption and production).
Olga Chabrovskaya, project manager of the EU-funded project Involvement of the public in environmental monitoring and improvement of environmental management at the local level, implemented by UNDP, presented to the participants of the round table the project "Support to the transition of the Republic of Belarus to a green economy", funded by the EU and implemented by UNDP. In total, more than 30 events took place within the framework of the project, including three eco-forums, which were attended by more than 4000 people. Based on the results of the project, a short film with subtitles in English and French was shot, at the BSEU green economy is being introduced into the educational process within the framework of the course Management of the green development of the national economy, three video clips on the green economy were recognized as social advertising, a free thematic game for smartphones was developed.
Irina Tochitskaya, scientific director of the IPM Research Center, and Nadezhda Batova, expert at BEROC, head of the Sector of Ecological and Economic Problems at the Institute of Economics of the National Academy of Sciences, presented the results of the BEROC Center for Economic Research within the framework of the project on circular economy. The Center conducted a survey among industrial, construction, agricultural enterprises and trade organizations. The issues of waste management were studied: annual volume of production waste generation and ways of its treatment at the enterprise; use of secondary raw materials; barriers for more complete use of waste at the enterprise. Recommendations on removal of barriers and promotion of circular economy were also given.
Anne Müller, researcher at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, presented the results of the study of the current situation in the context of the development of circular economy on the example of the Brest region. Strengths and weaknesses, chances and risks of transition to circular economy were also analyzed.
The round table concluded with a discussion on the prospects for successful planning and implementation of circular economy in Belarus. The participants noted the importance of the absence of legislative barriers for the transition to the circular economy, as the concept of circular economy is enshrined in a number of national legal documents: the National Strategy for the management of secondary raw materials until 2035, NSSD-2035, NSSD-2030, Presidential Decree No. 313 (Directive No. 7). The key elements are a five-stage hierarchy of priorities in the field of waste management and the principle of extended producer responsibility. In order to implement the circular economy, it is necessary to provide knowledge and competence to administrative staff, focusing on the prevention of waste generation and not only on the optimization of waste management.