OAS Holds High-Level Dialogue on Transition toward Circular Economies in the Americas to Slow Climate Change
Monday, May 04, 2015
The Organization of American States (OAS) today hosted a high-level dialogue entitled “Facilitating the Transition toward Circular Economies in the Americas” at its headquarters in Washington, DC, to discuss the progress of the “Closed Looped Cycle Production in the Americas” program being implemented in Colombia, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, and whose ultimate goal is to be replicated in other countries of the region to make a substantial contribution to sustainable development in the hemisphere.
The Director of the Department of Sustainable Development of the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI), Cletus Springer, who opened the event on behalf of the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, said that after a long effort, there is now a widespread consensus that our planet is in grave danger, and that a strong and concerted action is needed to stop pollution. “In climate change we have a clear and potent reminder of the results of our unsustainable consumption and production practices,” he said.
In this sense, Director Springer said the “Closed Looped Cycle Production” (CLCP) initiative led by theDepartment of Sustainable Development and which aims to promote the development of industrial processes in which materials utilized become valuable nutrients upon reaching the end of their useful life. “The PCC model not only seeks to rationalize the use of materials and resources, but involves a primary focus on the design of products and services,” he said.
Director Springer said the CLCP model is a practice that is expanding in the region and is being adopted by public and private corporations “as an effective way of strengthening the 3 pillars of sustainability: people, planet and profits.” As an example, he mentioned projects being carried out in Colombia, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago with the support of the State Department of the United States and the technical direction of the OAS Department of Sustainable Development. In an earlier stage, a very successful CLCP pilot project was implemented in Ecuador.
These efforts -Springer continued- are in line with the Declaration of Santo Domingo, which was approved by the Ministers and High Level Authorities for Sustainable Development in the Dominican Republic in 2010. “In that Declaration, OAS member states recognized that unsustainable patterns of production and consumption are a complex challenge to the well-being of communities,” he said.
For his part, the interim United States Representative to the OAS, Michael Fitzpatrick, said his country is aware of the harmful effects of climate change, and therefore is supporting alternatives to stop its impact on the global environment in collaboration with the international community, as in the case of the project implemented by the OAS. “We believe that the circular economy model is an effective, common sense approach to address these challenges,” he said.
The U.S. diplomat said that the circular economy is based on the same principles as Sustainable Materials Management, which is the efficient management of resources: reduce, reuse and recycle. In this regard, he said his government is implementing an interagency initiative known as “E3: Economy, Energy and Environment,” which aims to coordinate federal and local technical assistance to help U.S. manufacturers to join a “new business era focused on sustainability.” “E3 boosts local economies and communities with the creation of green jobs and reduction of environmental impact,” he added.
At the regional level, the U.S. Interim Representative noted that Washington has given nearly one million dollars to the CLCP initiative implemented by the OAS in the region. This program promotes greater adoption by micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, or MSMEs, of sustainable design and sustainable production methods in order to enhance their productivity, competiveness, and sustainability, as well as reducing the environmental impact of production.
The high-level dialogue, “Facilitating the Transition toward Circular Economies in the Americas” was attended by several experts in the field, and included panel discussions entitled “Potential for a Global Circular Economy?” “Opportunities for Circular Economies in the Americas;” and “Pioneering Circular Economies in the Americas.”
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.