Putting GCC cities in the loop

Sustainable growth in a circular economy

This report was published at the World Government Summit 2019

Cities in the GCC account for 85% of the region’s population and are a vital part of the economy. Yet rising urbanization is putting increased pressure on natural resources and is producing waste and emissions in unprecedented volumes.

The circular model offers a framework for sustainable growth by saving on wasteful consumption, extracting value from waste, and by creating new job opportunities. Broader environmental and social benefits also ensue.

Incorporating circular initiatives in urban areas can generate savings in the GCC of US$138 billion by 2030, corresponding to up to 1 percent of the region’s cumulative GDP from 2020-2030. It can also reduce emissions by 150 million tons, virtually the CO2 emissions of Netherlands in 2015.

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Building the circular economy

To set the transition to a circular economy in motion and reap the desired benefits, GCC governments should integrate their efforts in a comprehensive national framework which ensures that all relevant stakeholders contribute towards a holistic solution.

1 - National policies and plans

Define priority initiatives to spearhead the transition, while continuously monitoring their implementation.

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2 - Institutional framework

Ensure coordination at both the national and municipal levels.

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3 - Regulatory framework

Enforce regulations to incentivize the ecosystem to adopt circular economy principles.

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4 - Fiscal framework

Introduce taxes or levies on non-circular practices, and fiscal incentives to promote the implementation of circular initiatives.

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5 - Private sector outreach and public awareness

Increase public awareness through media campaigns, ecolabels, and incorporating relevant principles in school curricula. Behavioral interventions are also increasingly a key enablers for bolstering environmental responsible behaviors. Check out “Triggering change in the GCC through behavioral insights”.

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6 - Public procurement and asset management

Lead by example by change the way government department procure goods and services.

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Partner, Strategy& Middle East

Alice Klat

Director, Ideation Center, Strategy& Middle East

Jana Batal

Senior Fellow, Ideation Center, Strategy& Middle East

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