Terrassa has been one of the cities participating in the Eurocities Conference 2017, that took place in Ljubljana (Slovenia) last week. The position of our city has been strengthened with the confirmation of the role as vice-chair (together with Barcelona) of the Working Group about City attractiveness & International economic relations. Over 400 participants attended the conference, representing over 100 cities, with around 100 politicians taking part.
The European Union has made the circular economy a priority. Over 75 percent of Europe’s population now live in urban areas and its success relies on cities being commited to this transition and acting as key stakeholders. Future EU level legislation should ensure that products do not feature built-in obsolescence: are better designed for reuse and recycling, are easy to maintain and repair and use recycle materials. The Eurocities Conference 2017 has marked a real step up for cities involvement in the circular economy and showcased many amazing examples of the circular economy in action in the cities, and demonstrated the energy and commitment to move forwards.
During the meeting, the EUROCITIES Awards also reflected the circular economy theme. The winning projects are: Munich’s Halle 2, the Munich second hand store as nucleus of the local circular economy and Brussels, with a call for projects for enterprises related with circular economy.
A central element of the conference this year, was four parallel roundtables, which asked pertinent questions on the circular transition. What are the future jobs and skills gaps that will need to be plugged? How do we effectively involve all sectors of society? How can cities, through their use of green public procurement, work with businesses to encourage circularity along the entire value chain? How can circular principles be applied to urban growth and join forces across different sectors?
Overall, many inspiring examples of local level experiments in the circular economy were shared. Many cities spoke to the strong role cities can play in the circular transition. This includes the need to work together with businesses, focus on educating people on circular behaviours, mainstreaming the circular economy and integrating this work across city administrations. Several cities also highlighted the need to work with all levels, including the EU, to create a regulatory framework. One of the most important messages, however, was to simply start doing what you can now, as there are many ways that cities can speed up this transition.
Next 2018 Edimbourgh is hosting the Eurocities conference, with the main theme about Creative Competitive Cities.