As part of the EU funded Water and Environment Support (WES) project a Regional Training including a Study Visit on ‘Innovative Circular Economy Business Models in the Mediterranean’, was organised from 15 till 17 May 2023, in Barcelona, Spain.

The purpose of this Regional Training and Study Visit was to strengthen the capacities of stakeholders from the WES Partner Countries to implement effective measures to support the development of green and circular businesses, in line with regional environmental frameworks (the UfM’s 2030GreenerMed Agenda, the UN’s Barcelona Convention system, the EU Green Deal, etc.).

Ms Alessandra Sensi, Head of Environment, Green and Blue Economy sector at the UfM confirmed in her welcome speech that the WES Training and Study Visit contributes directly to the implementation of the UfM’s GreenerMed Agenda and to the wider shift of the region towards Green/Circular Economy. She added “In the past years, many pilot activities were carried out, the Mediterranean was a laboratory for change and innovation; now we need the critical mass to make the process roll on its own and to this end, partnership and synchronization are key.”

During the first day of the workshop, the challenges of the current business models were addressed, as well as the concept of eco-design, the EU and regionally agreed policy instruments, a policy hub and eco innovation platform, and the different regional measures as identified by a related UNEP/MAP document. Particular focus was put on the role of policy makers/public authorities and the measures targeting entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs.

During practical and interactive sessions, participants were introduced to “Open Eco-Innovation” as a tool for Circular Economy Enablers  and were able to explore how to develop and deploy eco-innovation tools and solutions.

The study visits at the Circular Economy Hotspot in Catalonia, Spain, were the highlight of this training, during which, circular economy practices applied in the city were presented on the spot and thoroughly discussed. A Peer-to-Peer exchange is running in combination with the Regional Training and Study Visit, that will last for approximately one year.

By the end of this 3-day training, more than 35 representatives from ministries and government agencies as well as entrepreneurs and NGOs from Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia enhanced their knowledge on the regional initiatives and policy instruments that support green and circular businesses and were acquainted with tools to assist them in boosting the development of green and circular businesses and knowledge transfer among the WES Partner Countries.

This activity was implemented with the support of MedWaves – UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre for SCP, the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) and LDK Consultants Global EEIG.