EU

  • 25 December 2020

    Two concepts for the same goal?

    By Alessandro Arlati – Research Assistant at HCU, Department of Urban Planning and Regional Development English Version During the last decade, Circular Economy (CE) has more and more affirmed its relevance as a conceptual framework for supporting future sustainable development in our cities. The Ellen McArthur Foundation, as a way to eschew the take-make-waste mentality that has largely characterized our economic systems, defined CE paradigm in 2013. The CE paradigm claims for a change (often referred to as “transition”) from a linear economy, not only by mitigating and adjusting its negative impacts. It implies a more profound systemic shift, aiming at building “long-term resilience, generate business and economic opportunities, and provide environmental and societal benefits”. Yet, CE is not alone in this objective. Many other concepts are paving their way in the attempt of countering the negative impacts of the society we are living in. Among others, Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are becoming a fancy answer to address various societal challenges by imitating nature. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defined the main objective of NBS implementation in its ability to support the achievement of society’s development goals and safeguard human well-being providing simultaneously economic, social and environmental benefits. Now it is worth asking ourselves whether there is a synergy between these two concepts. Looking at the definitions and the objectives that both CE and NBS are aiming at, it does not sound absurd. Furthermore, it is important to mention at this point, that both CE and NBS were included in the EU research and innovation programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020) in 2015. Yet, the series of projects started within these programmes have taken two definite and distinct directions: in other words, the two concepts do not figure out as connected in some way. However, it is possible to identify...
  • 30 April 2020

    The New Economy

    By Katsiaryna Serada – Research Fellow & Policy Analyst at Tondo English Version The pandemic COVID 19 has questioned the foundations of our global economy, demonstrated the weaknesses of our current economic model in facing real and potential global challenges, revealed the excessive and risky dependency on the global value chains and a single largest supplier. The COVID 19 demonstrated that the largest supply of the essential medical items, almost three-quarters of blood thinners imported by Italy, 60% of antibiotic components imported by Japan and 40% imported by Germany, Italy, and France, and largest amount of the medical masks come from China (Javorcik, 2020).  Before the COVID-19 crisis, China produced around 20 million masks per day. By early March 2020 the production increased to 120 million per day, including through deploying idle productive capacity and repurposing other sectors such as automotive and electronics. Despite deploying additional productive capacity both in China and worldwide, the global spike in demand for medical and other supplies   during the COVID 19 crisis far exceeded both material stocks and available capacity to produce. The global value chains were hit in several dimensions – demand, international transportation networks, productive capacity — and were not able to respond the global health crisis. The governments of the exporting countries have addressed the increasing shortage or scarcity (risk of scarcity) in the domestic markets by imposing the numerous export restrictions on medical and other items. More than 70 economies, including the US, China and the EU, have introduced export restrictions to allocate domestic supplies to national healthcare systems and citizens first (Hoekman, Fiorini, 2020). Therefore, the COVID 19 crisis has explicitly demonstrated that the price mechanism and the markets have failed to accomplish social optimum and efficiently provide and allocate the resources. The crisis has explicitly demonstrated that...
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