Over four days (Sept 4-7, 2018) Mr Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Union led a high-level delegation of over 80 delegates representing 16 Member States of the EU. The delegation engaged with the ministries of the Indian government and over 300 businesses, entrepreneurs and NGOs for knowledge and policy exchange and towards exploring partnerships for circular economy transition. Indian and EU stakeholders expressed interest in collaborating and partnering in various areas with over 140 business to business meetings facilitated between EU and Indian stakeholders.
Following stakeholders announced their intent to explore and collaborate further:
Mr Vella emphasized that, “Circular Economy is a positive agenda for bilateral cooperation between EU and India. The EU, with its vast experience in resource efficiency and circular economy, and India, with its strong culture of collaboration and innovation and entrepreneurial skills, can together make a difference in the global arena.”
Mr Hardeep Singh Puri, Hon’ble Minister of State in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said that India is the appropriate place and now is the right time to be having the discussions on Circular Economy.
CEM was successful in cementing further the EU-India Cooperation on Environment as the information exchange and lessons on best practices in EU and India were shared. India is the only country in the world to have a national resource efficiency panel and the Indian Resource Panel. A number of circular economy innovations coming out of India inherently address social issues. Frugal innovation and repair markets are high on the agenda for the EU, and the EU can learn from India’s Jugaad resourcefulness.
Commissioner Vella also held several bilateral meetings with his counterparts of key ministries and departments involved in circular economy and resource efficiency in India, including Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), Water Resources, Industry & Commerce, Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. He also joined a roundtable discussion organized by NITI Aayog with high-level participation from Ministry of Steel, Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to discuss the implementation of India’s Resource Efficiency Strategy.
EU-India cooperation has already led to the development of India’s first ever Resource Efficiency (RE) Strategy by the EU Delegation and NITI Aayog. As a part of RE Strategy implementation with NITI Aayog, the EU-REI (Resource Efficiency Initiative) project is also supporting development of strategies on RE in three Indian states – Telangana, Goa and Odisha – for state level mainstreaming of RE and CE approaches. A new partnership is also being formalized with the Rajasthan Pollution Control Board. Four sectoral studies on Resource Efficiency conducted under the EU-REI project were also released at CEM, covering Solar Supply Chains Mobility, Construction sector and Extended Producer Responsibility for plastic waste and electronic waste.
The EU will continue to support the implementation of the RE strategy and the work of the RE cell initiated by the Government of India. The EU and India will work towards formalizing the partnership in the next EU-India Summit, as well as strengthening input to the Resource efficiency dialogue in the G-20 context. Mr Ratan P. Watal, Principal Adviser, NITI Aayog and Member Secretary to EAC-PM, highlighted that in the last one-year Resource Efficiency has gained increasing traction in policy circles in India, and is now discussed in the same way as Energy Efficiency. Ms Astrid Schomaker, Director of Global Sustainable Development, Directorate General for Environment, European Commission expressed that from the perspective of the European Commission, this Mission has been extremely successful and we look very much forward to cooperation between the EU and India, both at the government and private sector level.
ith the Indian economy projected to grow at close to 7.5% in the coming years, there is an urgent need to develop circular economy models that will allow India to decouple economic growth from resource security issues and negative environmental impact. These models can unlock around 430 billion Euros of value for India by 2030. Collaboration, many experts reiterated, will remain key to developing innovative circular economy models. Circular Economy Mission to India was an important step in the direction.
About the EU Delegation in India: European Union (EU): The EU, which consists of 28 countries, has the world's largest economy and its third largest population, after China and India. Though richly diverse, the countries that make up the EU (its 'Member States') are all committed to the same basic values: peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. They have set up common institutions so that decisions on matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level. By creating a frontier-free single market and a single currency (the euro) which has been adopted by 19 Member States, the EU has given a significant boost to trade and employment. It is also at the forefront of policies on sustainability.
About the EU-Resource Efficiency Initiative: The European Union’s Resource Efficiency Initiative (EU-REI) for India is a three and a half year project, which lasts until July 2020 and aims to support India in the implementation of the United Nations global Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) agenda by way of adapting international standards and best practices in business on resource efficiency and fostering the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources. The project is implemented on behalf of the EU by a consortium led by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Confederation of the Indian Industry (CII) and adelphi. The initiative aims to facilitate partnerships between Indian and European businesses and stakeholders on resource efficiency (RE) in selected sectors.