More than 20 environmental experts from 12 nations yesterday gathered at the fourth International Environmental Partnership forum hosted by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to discuss circular economy issues.
The two-day forum, which is taking place at Howard Civil Service International House in Taipei, was inaugurated yesterday.
The forum was initiated in 2014 by former US EPA administrator Gina McCarthy during her visit to Taiwan, EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said at the opening, adding that it has become a collaborative event between the two agencies.
Since then, the program has inspired more than 60 activities involving more than 40 nations and 50 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), he said.
Taiwan has paid a great environmental cost, such as water and soil pollution, in its pursuit of economic development, he said, adding that the nation can help others avoid paying a similar price by sharing its experiences.
American Institute in Taiwan Deputy Director Robert Forden said that the forum is a great opportunity, and he hopes “to demonstrate to the global community that Taiwan should be welcome as part of the solution [to environmental problems].”
A circular economy, in addition to reducing and recycling waste, can “stimulate job creation, a fact that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) recognized when she named the circular economy one of the ‘five plus two’ innovative industries,” Forden said, adding that he looks forward to broadening collaboration between the two EPAs and businesses in both nations.
“A circular economy is no longer just a term that’s used by NGOs. It’s now also a common goal shared by governments ... and by the general public,” European Economic and Trade Office head Madeleine Majorenko said.
The European Commission in 2015 adopted “a very ambitious circular economy package,” which includes targets such as recycling 65 percent of municipal waste and 75 percent of packaging waste by 2030, Majorenko said, adding that the package requires “fundamental changes to our daily activities.”
Almere Mayor Franc Weerwind told how Almere, a satellite city of Amsterdam, has become a “circular city” by using waste as a raw material.
According to the goals of the “Almere 2.0” program, the city aims to become energy neutral and waste-free by 2022, when it is to host the seventh Floriade Almere international horticultural exhibition.
Almere and its sister city, Taichung, are also to organize the World Floral Exposition in Taichung next year, the EPA said in a news release.
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