Climate Technology Centre & Network Progress Report 2020

Technology in action

Latin American countries partner on circularity

Back to the circular economy
In Latin America, the concept of circular economy is gaining political ground. Several countries in the region have already implemented public policies and private initiatives to advance circular economy efforts, characterized mainly by regulations and programmes that establish a framework for waste management, and extended responsibility to the producer on recycling, waste recovery and reuse.1 However, these initiatives have not been framed within a national strategy for a circular economy that systematizes this experience or defines objectives and goals, costs, benefits, and barriers.

In order to move progress on circular economy efforts forward, the governments of four Latin American countries (Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay) partnered to submit a multi-country request to the CTCN. While they are already aware of the economic, social, and environmental benefits that a circular economy can provide, the countries seek specific strategies to implement their visions. With support from the CTCN, these countries have articulated road maps for achieving general, sectoral, or process-specific circular economies. This included creating performance indicators that facilitate monitoring compliance with their NDCs and relevant SDGs (9, 12 and 13). The regional nature of this technical assistance also enables a benchmark analysis of other countries, mainly in Europe, which have already implemented roadmaps, such as France and Finland.

In summary, the CTCN technical collaboration included:
  • Analysis of key players and circular economy initiatives in the participating countries;
  • Identification of the value of the circular economy and definition of benefits, opportunities, and challenges in each participating country;
  • Compilation of international experiences;
  • Mapping of cases of successful implementation of industry 4.0 for the circular economy at the international level, and adoption of certain practices at the local level considering technological developments in these countries; and
  • Identification of potential circular economy projects for each requesting country, prioritizing specific territories.

“In Uruguay, we recognize and are promoting the importance of the circular economy to deliver the economic growth which, in turn, preserves and improves the natural capital, promotes renewable resources and the efficiency of systems. Participation in this CTCN regional project has been a novel venture which allows four countries in the region to share their experiences, focussing on the contribution of the circular economy to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and compliance with the Nationally Determined Contributions. In the case of Uruguay, implementation of the project has focused on opportunities to apply the circular economy in the area of food production, an activity in which our country has characteristics which enable it to achieve significant development in the domestic and export market. It is also an area which makes a great contribution in relation to greenhouse gas emissions. We hope that the recommendations resulting from this technical assistance will contribute to the prevention of climate change and fulfilment of commitments under the Paris Agreement, a task to which we must all commit.”

— Ms. Carla Zilli Officer of Climate Change National Direction, Ministry of Environment, Uruguay
  1. Schröder, P., Albaladejo, M., Ribas, P.A., MacEwen, M. and Tilkanen, J. (2020) The Circular Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Opportunities for Building Resilience. Chatham House Research Paper