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High-Level Political Forum 2019 - The Growth We Want Is Sustainable: Harnessing innovation for a circular economy for all

9 July 2019

Conference room B, UN Conference Building, United Nations HQ, New York


The circular economy is a compulsory choice for a sustainable world. But how do we get there? Many fears that circularity could slow down economic progress and productivity. Yet, a circular economy does not have to be a poorer economy. On the contrary. It is a different system of production and consumption, which minimizes waste, optimizes the resources used with minimal pollution, and reshapes production and consumption from a life-cycle and recycling perspective. It regenerates natural capital and creates opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship along the way. 

The aim of this event is to share experiences and lessons learned and come-up with a set of policy recommendations on how to harness innovation for this necessary transition towards an inclusive circular economy, in the face of limited natural resources, degrading ecosystems and pollution, technology-driven economic change, and the need to ensure inclusion of all parts of society. 


  • Opening: 

    • H.E. Ambassador Darja Bavdaž Kuret, Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the United Nations
    • Olga Algayerova, Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of UNECE

  • Welcoming Remarks: 

    • Bertrand Piccard, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, Solar Impulse (Video Message)

  • Moderator: 

    • UN Environment – Satya S Tripathi, Assistant Secretary General and Head of NY Office, UN Environment 

  • Speakers and Discussants: 

    • Sweden -  Darja Isaksson, Director General Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency
    • Germany - Clemens Helbach, Deputy Director, Division on United Nations, 2030 Agenda, Developing and Newly Industrialized Countries, Federal Environment Agency
    • Georgia - Nino Tkhilava, Head of Department of Environmental Policy and International Relations, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture 
    • Finland - Paivi Kantanen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment / Employment and Well-Functioning Markets
    • Germany - Dr. Clemens Helbach, Deputy Head of Division IK I 2 – United Nations, 2030 Agenda; Developing Countries and Emerging Economies, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
    • ACUMEN  Rockfeller/CISCO System Foundation - Lynn Roland, General Counsel
    • World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) - Bill Sisson, WBCSD’s Executive Director for North America
    • UNECE - Maria Teresa Pisani, Economic Affairs Officer, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division


Event Leaflet

Event Flyer


Maria Ceccarelli, Director (OiC) Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, maria.ceccarelli@un.org

Maria Teresa Pisani, Economic Affairs Officer, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, maria-teresa.pisani@un.org