State of Art - Circular Economy & Citizen Involvement in CECI Regions

At CECI project’s 1st interregional event in Finland 3.-4.12.2019, the policy situation regarding circular economy and citizen involvement was discussed between the partners. The state of art was especially in focus at the “round table” discussion organized during the second day of the event. The partners were prepared to share the current situation in their territories after discussing the same issues back in their regions, earlier in autumn, in the first regional stakeholder group meetings.

The round table discussion began with a presentation from each country in which the policy situation of circular economy on the national and regional level was briefly explained. Furthermore, the policy instrument in the focus of each region was presented and the need for improvement was highlighted. The presentations also mentioned some already existing interesting examples of citizen involvement in a circular economy implementation like promoting local food, equipment libraries and city bikes.

Roundtable discussions during the 1st interregional event in Lahti (Photo: CECI)

Circular Economy Policies in Process

The presentations and the round table discussion confirmed that the policy situation in each region is different from another. In some participating countries, holistic circular economy policies already exist on several policy levels (national, regional, local), while in others, are rather at an early stage of development and the focus of the current strategies might still be on more traditional views related to e.g. waste management and cleantech.

For example, the regions in France (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) and Finland (Päijät-Häme) have a regional road map towards circular economy, while Czech Republic (Moravian-Silesian region) and Bulgaria (City of Varna) have strategies concentrating on waste management. In Belgium (City of Mechelen), a circular city strategy is almost finalized. Moreover, in Spain (Aragon), there is a desire to develop the circular economy approach on a regional level.

However, the regions having circular economy strategies, are lacking the citizen involvement perspective. Both the regions from France and Finland pointed out that citizens should be brought more in focus in the policy instruments (in their case operational programs).

On the other hand, even if policies are developing at their own pace, local-level actions are taking place. Citizens are involved and participating in circular economy actions already now. For instance, in Belgium, in the region of Flanders where Mechelen is situated, over 130 small scale circular economy projects were funded in 2017-18 with a total of 11 ME.


Dominique Giobiconi presents the State of the Art activities in the Côte d'Azur Region, France (Photo CECI)

Common Will towards Involving Citizens in Circular Economy

The state of art of the policy situation and the policy instruments in focus of the project differ from region to region. This provides unique starting points for the project in all participating regions. In some regions, policies have been set up, but the actions could be more, in others, there are several projects ongoing, but no related policy yet exists, or, there is a need for development on both policy and action level. However, all regional project partners share the same desire to develop possibilities for involving citizens more actively in promoting circular economy. They are “keen to use CECI experiences” in developing their strategies to bring circular economy closer to the citizens. The regional partners are also looking forward to learning more from the advisory partner in the project, “makesense” that has a lot of experience in innovative citizen involvement solutions on circular economy.

The first interregional event provided an excellent and suitable challenging starting point for the coming project collaboration. Through sharing good practices between partners, increasing capacity and finally drawing up regional action plans for developing the policy instruments, CECI hosts great possibilities to boost the circular economy progress on citizen level in all involved regions.

 For more information: Policy instruments in focus in CECI regions