Toespraak van staatssecretaris Heijnen bij het COP28 side event Financing to Close the Circularity Gap

Toespraak van staatssecretaris Heijnen (IenW) bij het COP28 side event Financing to Close the Circularity Gap . Dit evenement vond plaats in december 2023 in Dubai. De toespraak is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Good morning, everyone.

Welcome to the joint pavilion of the European Investment Bank and the Benelux countries. And for those of you who have only just arrived at the conference, welcome to COP28!

Today is Finance Day. A day initiated by the UN to acknowledge the role that banks can play in supporting sustainable development. A perfect day to hold this event on ‘financing to close the circularity gap’.

We need the financial sector to be with us now more than ever. National governments have a key role in creating the right conditions for this. That’s what this event is about.

So, what’s a circular economy got to do with climate change?

The short answer is: everything!

We’ve all come to Dubai on a shared mission to limit global warming. And we all agree that the role of finance and financial institutions is critical in achieving this goal.

But there’s another fundamental aspect that isn’t as well known yet, but that is getting more and more recognition. And that’s the role of materials and natural resources in climate change. Production, extraction and processing of raw materials account for more than 90 per cent of measured impact on biodiversity and water stress, 55 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and more than 40 per cent of pollution.

A circular economy can help solve all these problems. An economy in which waste is a valuable resource. In which products are designed so they can be used again and again. An economy that safeguards prosperity for future generations.

And finance plays a critical role in achieving this circular economy. More and more people are becoming aware of this. The penny has dropped, so to speak. Last year, I introduced a high-level roadmap on finance for circularity. It sets out how international financial institutions can work together in order to improve funding for the circular economy.

Since then, a dedicated network of multilateral development banks has joined forces on this issue. That’s important, because averting ecological harm and updating risk perceptions are complex. You can’t do this alone. It's crucial that these banks continue to work together, and leverage their collective expertise.

I’m happy to see the financial sector building on this collaboration. But we need more. Growing cooperation between banks is one side of the coin.

The other side is national governments that ensure finance actually flows to circular projects and programmes. We need them to free up funds that are now waiting to be used. We need them to change the rules for a circular economy. And to ensure an international level playing field that supports the circular economy, rather than the linear economy.

I’m talking about tax policies, accounting standards and other incentives. We, as governments, must move beyond thinking in isolation.

We have to deliver the circular economy to the wider world. Because the circular economy is about people, jobs and economic development. That’s why we’re here.

Naturally, this raises questions. What exactly is the role of national governments? How can we further scale-up the circular economy?

To explore such practical questions, the NDC circular economy toolbox was launched during MENA Climate Week recently. I applaud the three UN organisations – UNEP, UNDP and UNFCCC – that worked so hard to develop it. The toolbox can help governments formulate effective policies to promote the circular economy as part of their national climate plans.

Right now, a circular economy is specifically mentioned as a mitigation measure in only 27 per cent of NDCs. So, there’s a lot of scope for improvement there.

Let’s all use this toolbox to integrate circularity into our climate plans. Let’s embrace our task as national governments to facilitate finance for circularity. That’s the key message of this event.  

There’s no time to lose. Ensuring a liveable planet for future generations: let’s make that our first priority in everything we do.

Thank you.