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The circular economy is about preventing wasted resources through reusing materials, improving design to increase the durability of goods and products, and transforming waste.

Population growth, climate change and urbanisation are likely to increase the pressure on natural resources, as well as the demand for new infrastructure, services and housing. By 2050, the global population will reach 9 billion people, 70% of which will be living in cities. Cities represent almost two-thirds of global energy demand, produce up to 80% of greenhouse gas emissions and 50% of global waste.

Cities and regions play a fundamental role in shifting from a linear to a circular economy, as they are responsible for key decisions in local public services such as transport, solid waste, water and energy that affect citizens’ well-being, economic growth and environmental quality. In cities and regions, the circular economy should ensure that:

  • services (e.g. from water to waste and energy) are provided while preventing waste generation, making efficient use of natural resources as primary materials, optimising their reuse and allowing synergies across sectors;

  • economic activities are planned and executed in a way to close, slow and narrow loops across value chains, and;

  • infrastructure is designed and built to avoid linear locks-in, which use resources intensively and inefficiently.

The OECD Programme on the Circular Economy in Cities and Regions was designed to support national and subnational governments in their transition towards the circular economy through evidence-based analysis, multi-stakeholder dialogues, tailored recommendations and customised action plans. The Programme relies on a consortium of cities and countries engaged in peer-to-peer dialogues and knowledge sharing activities, including Glasgow (United Kingdom), Granada (Spain), Groningen (Netherlands), Umeå (Sweden), Valladolid (Spain) and Ireland.

This report summarises the findings from an 18-month policy dialogue with the city of Valladolid, Spain to develop a vision for the circular economy transition and learn from existing best practices. Since 2017, transitioning towards the circular economy has been a political priority for Valladolid with the objective of creating new socio-economic opportunities, especially by enhancing innovation in business. The city was one of the first signatories of the Declaration of Seville alongside other Spanish municipalities in 2017, and developed a Circular Economy Roadmap in 2018. Concretely, Valladolid has granted over one million euros to 61 circular economy related projects promoted by private companies, not-for-profit organisations or research centres.

The report argues that a circular economy strategy in Valladolid could help enhance coherence across existing initiatives, while scaling them up. To that effect, it recommends leveraging the potential of co-ordination across SMEs, local government and university, and considering a more pro-active role of the Agency of Innovation and Economic Development in promoting and facilitating circular economy initiatives.

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© OECD 2020

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