Recent projections show the global population could rise from 7.9 billion today to around 9.7 billion in 2050.
The impact of our current consumption and production patterns on the planet is cause for concern. We are already in ‘ecological overshoot’, using more than the available amount of Earth’s natural resources to sustain us. Estimates show that if we continue on our current path, we will need the equivalent of almost three planets’ worth of natural resources.
Business as usual is simply not an option. Fortunately, we are already seeing a shift from traditional ‘take, make, dispose’ industrial models to regenerative, circular ones. The transition has benefits for people and the planet, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.
Circular economy approaches can help countries accelerate their transition to more inclusive, resilient, and lower-carbon economies. At the same time, they can support the regeneration of natural systems, respond to the climate and biodiversity crises, and create new green jobs.
The creation of national climate plans, or Nationally Determined Contributions, presents countries with the opportunity to leverage circular economy approaches as a powerful tool to meet short to medium-term climate and development targets, as well as longer-term net-zero goals and other closely linked environmental and development priorities.
Many governments are leading the way by including circular approaches within their NDC across sectors such as waste, agriculture, urban planning, tourism, and construction.
Through the Climate Promise, UNDP is working with countries to identify and capitalize on these opportunities. This includes carrying out circular economy assessments to identify priority areas for circular action and building communities of practice for private sector engagement.