COP28: HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak Announces the Launch of Regional Circular Economy Taskforce Under the Auspices of The League of the Arab States and in Collaboration with the Private Sector

06 December 2023

The League of Arab States (LAS) Department of Environmental and Meteorological Affairs has joined forces with leading international entities represented by the Multinational Companies Business Group and the Circular Packaging Association to accelerate the transition to a circular economy in the region by recommending the establishment of a Pan-Arab Regional Circular Economy Council.

At her Keynote Speech, HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, UN High Level Climate Champion for COP28, announced the launch of Regional Circular Economy Taskforce under the auspices of the League of the Arab States bringing together private and public sector to support region’s governments in transitioning to a circular resilient low carbon economy.Conducted at the Arab League’s pavilion at COP28, this half-day event saw high-level representatives from the public and private sector discuss the importance of harmonizing circular economy policies, trade definitions and standards in the region, as well as the role of public-private partnership in driving positive impact at scale.

The discussions tackled the sustainable use of resources and the role of advanced technologies in catalyzing the private sector’s transition to cleaner production and opened the door for open and transparent communication to shape robust regulatory frameworks and drive systemic change.

Dr. Mahmoud Fathallah, Director of the Department of Environment and Meteorology at the League of Arab States said, “The League of Arab States is keen to strengthen partnerships between the public and private sectors across the region. This meeting mirrors the commitment towards enabling such collaborations which aim at supporting circular policies by providing a platform for dialogue and knowledge exchange amongst all stakeholders to ultimately to identify implementation challenges obstacles to implementation.”

Commenting on the event, Ramy Zaki, Chief Executive Officer of the Multinational Companies Business Group stated, “As an industry collective, we believe in the value of businesses and governments across the MENA region working together to drive the shift to circular economy. No single business or government can by itself accomplish this enormous endeavor. Good regulations can greatly incentivize circular practices and innovations and public-private partnership and regulatory dialogue, can drive the design of a pan-Arab circular economy regulatory framework drawing upon the collective knowledge and resources of governments and the private sector. A Pan-Arab approach to the harmonization of circular economy policies can bridge individual market viability gaps and anchor the development and deployment of region-specific solutions to the most pressing resource sustainability challenges.”

“The positive outcome of this collaboration cannot be overstated and will manifest in multiple vectors, from fostering innovation, to removing regulatory barriers and spurring the investments required to make the circular economy transformation possible, viable and rapid” added Zaki.

Priya Sarma, Chair of the Circular Packaging Association also said, “The Circular Packaging Association is advocating for transformative actions at scale towards the sustainable management of packaging materials. Our commitment to redesigning packaging, from enhancing recyclability to introducing innovative reuse models, is key. We want to significantly reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills — a goal reliant on the effective implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). This strategic policy not only places the onus on producers to reclaim post-consumer waste but is also a driving force for consumer awareness and regulatory frameworks that support recycling and waste conversion.”

“The CPA is buoyed by the potential economic and environmental benefits, as highlighted by a 2019 study conducted by the consultancy firm ‘Strategy&’, that estimated an annual opportunity of USD 200 million from diverting 75% of plastic waste from landfills and converting 60% of this diverted waste. With nations like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) embracing EPR to expedite their circular economy transformations, we envision an era where our industry is central to fostering a sustainable and economically robust environment” added Priya.