ASOEN Chair of Indonesia Emerges Circular Economy Advancements in World Circular Economic Forum Meeting – Brussel

Addressing circular economic challenges in the world, Indonesia and other ASEAN countries fully aware to engage circular economy on every activity that would degrade environment. During the World Circular Economy Forum 2024 in Brussels, parties underscored commitments to sustainable development and the pivotal role of partnerships for advancement. ASOEN Chair of Indonesia shows the best practices of circular economy standards which implemented.

The circular economy is not solely about environmental conservation, it also holds immense potential for social and economic progress. The circular economy is a concept that offers significant benefits across various domains, such a make better use of finite resources in term of optimizing natural resources like forest, soil, water, air, metals, and mineral. It is also important to reduce emissions. Approximately 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from product use, manufacturing, and food production. 

The circular economy offers protect human health and biodiversity by practices minimize waste and pollution, leading to healthier ecosystems and safeguarding human well-being. The circular can boost economy growth by fostering innovation, creating new markets, and generating employment opportunities. They also enhance resource efficiency, which contributes to overall economic resilience. Furthermore, the circular economy generates employment across sectors, from recycling and remanufacturing to repair services. These jobs often align with sustainable practices and contribute positively to society.

Recognizing the importance of circular economy, The World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) 2024, was held in Brussels, Belgium on 15-18 April 2024, initiated by Finland and the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA. The Forum gathers 4,000+ global leaders to showcase leading Circular Economy solutions across sectors. With a focus on four thematic pillars the event fosters robust exchanges of ideas and innovations, WCEF 2024 is set to showcase the most impactful circular solutions worldwide, underpinned by cutting-edge scientific evidence. The program was tailored to facilitate focused discussions on governance, finance, people and employment, and business and innovation – key drivers essential for implementing circular solutions effectively.

Circular Economy towards Advancing Sustainability Cooperation in the ASEAN Region

In recent years, ASEAN countries increasingly have an important role at the global level. This can be a driving force for ASEAN in the formation of the Economic Community. The global economy, as well as strengthening the economies of ASEAN countries, which in the end the economic activities among ASEAN member countries can be more mutually beneficial. Countries in Southeast Asia often referred to as ASEAN has ten participating countries, namely Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Brunei Darussalam – are on growth. As most developing countries, several factors play an important role in a country’s economic growth, including: industries and trade, and investment for sure. Indonesia as developing country, ensuring economic activity growing up, while safe for environment – with deeply concerned on circular economy. The European Union being part of global economy, including ASEAN, takes important role.

ASEAN has made notable strides in advancing the circular economy (CE) agenda, evident through various initiatives like the ASEAN CE Framework and its accompanying Implementation and Work Plan. Additionally, the release of the Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Member States (ReAP, 2021-2025) underscores the region’s commitment to policy-driven advancements.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam have demonstrated proactive policy formulation, institutional capacity development, and the establishment of minimum standards, particularly within the plastic value chain. These efforts are evident in pioneering initiatives like Design for Recycling guidelines and labels, as well as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) frameworks.

During his welcoming speech at the “ASEAN Workshop on Circular Economy towards Advancing Sustainability Cooperation in the Region” on April 16, 2024, in Brussels, Belgium, Ary Sudijanto, the Director General of the Agency for Standardization of Environment and Forestry Instruments, underscored the significance of trust and collaboration among ASEAN countries, Germany, and the European Union in realizing sustainable development goals.  

The ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment (ASOEN) Chair of Indonesia, Ary Sudijanto spearheaded circular economy advancements with European Partners in ASEAN Region.  Bringing together government officials, European representatives, and stakeholders from diverse sectors, the workshop convened during the World Circular Economy Forum 2024 (WCEF2024) as a tangible demonstration of the cooperation among ASEAN nations, Germany, and the European Union.

He was confident that this event will provide a platform for sharing insights and best practices, fostering further collaboration among ASEAN Member States (AMS) and partners in addressing circular economy challenges.

He underscored the government’s commitment to environmental conservation through legislation and the creation of Environmental Economic Instruments. He highlighted the establishment of the Standardization Agency for Environmental and Forestry Instruments (ASEFI), designed to ensure the implementation of eco-friendly standards and promote responsible consumption.

The workshop aimed to facilitate the exchange of insights and best practices among ASEAN Member States (AMS) and partners to further collaborative efforts in addressing challenges related to the Circular Economy. The workshop also addressed the registration of Eco-labels, emphasizing their role in providing accurate information to consumers regarding the environmental aspects of products.

Sudijanto reiterated Indonesia’s dedication to accelerating circular economy initiatives for sustainable development while fostering cooperation among ASEAN Member States and European partners. The event concluded with a call for new partnerships and ongoing dialogue to implement innovative circular economy solutions and policies. Participants expressed optimism for the future, aiming to bring workshop discussions into actionable decisions for the collective benefit of the region.

ASEAN holds potential as a central hub for inclusive growth in plastic management, positively impacting environmental quality and socio-economic aspects through circular economy principles. In addressing plastic pollution within the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC), ASEAN countries have aligned on commonalities.

Since 2022, the United Nation on Environmental Assembly (UNEA) has started negotiations to prepare an International Legally Binding Instrument (ILBI) to tackle plastic pollution. ASEAN countries, under the coordination of the ASEAN Secretariat, continue to work together to overcome environmental problems. To identify shared concerns regarding plastic pollution and to prepare ASEAN Member States (AMS) for the INC-3, the ASEAN Coordination Meeting on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Plastic Pollution was convened on October 16, 2023.

During INC-3 in Kenya, November 2023, Indonesia emphasized the significance of the Zero-Draft Text, highlighting its pivotal role in negotiations addressing technical aspects of plastic management with a full life cycle approach. Indonesia stressed adherence to the Rio Principle and the Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), while also considering geographical diversity, particularly for archipelagic countries like Indonesia.

The Fourth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Develop an International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastic Pollution, including in the Marine Environment (INC-4) will be held in Ottawa, Canada 23-29 April 2024. The INC-4 expects to reach a milestone on avoiding and tackling plastic pollution, either in land or in sea.

Leading by Indonesia, several recommendations were also read out  by ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities (AWGESC) in 2023 in relate to combatting plastic, namely: (1) supporting ASEAN cooperation on AWGESC to incorporate recycling rates as one of the criteria for the ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City Award; (2) developing standards in each ASEAN country and ASEAN regional standards to improve the reuse/refill business model as an alternative to reduce single-use plastic consumption; (3) playing an important role in raising its voice and position as a region that has many things in common, in the ILBI negotiation process regarding plastic pollution; (4) establishing standards for recyclable plastic packaging to overcome the problem of low-value waste; and (5) Integrating the circular economy into trade, finance and investment systems, by establishing environmentally friendly incentives for the private sector.

Attended at the workshop some key figures – there were Senior Policy Officer of Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Germany, EU Delegation, Assistant Director of Environment Division of ASEAN Secretariat, Attaché of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, Director of Environment, Bappenas, Indonesia and other representatives of AMS.  With the assist from GIZ, the workshop underscored the commitment of ASEAN nations and European partners to advancing sustainability cooperation in the region.

Contributor: Fiferi Murni (GIZ)

Writers: Uus Danu Kusumah, Tutik Sriyati (BSILHK)
Editor: Yayuk Siswiyanti (BSILHK)

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