Global South takes the helm, driving the circular transition towards a sustainable future!

World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2024)

Brussels, 16th April 2024 -

The roundtable, “From Aspiration to Actions: Accelerating Circular Transition Worldwide” held on April 15th, 2024, at The Square in Brussels, at WCEF2024, saw a full house endorsing the Global South’s leading role in accelerating the global transition towards circularity and the setting up of the Global Center on Circular Economy in India.

Entities from the Global South, led by the International Council for Circular Economy (ICCE) from India, which partnered with ACEN from South Africa, Exchange4Change from Brazil, and ACESP from ASEAN countries, came together in solidarity to address global challenges due to climate change. The roundtable highlighted India’s steadfast commitment, as demonstrated during its G20 presidency in 2022-23 and, enshrined in the New Delhi Leaders Declaration adopted by all the member countries, accounting for 60% of the world’s population. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the pivotal role of Circular Economy, resource efficiency, and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in achieving sustainable development. Prime Minister Modi had also pointed out that the current troika of G20 comprising all three members from the Global South represented a historic milestone, well positioned to advance the interests of the developing world.

In the face of escalating environmental challenges and unsustainable consumption patterns, we, the undersigned, are compelled to address the pressing need for transformative action towards a more sustainable future. This manifesto serves as a clarion call to establish the Global Center on Circular Economy, hosted by India and supported by the Global South Partners”, said the manifesto which was released during the roundtable.

Access the Manifesto here.

The roundtable saw the participation of all key stakeholders, including representatives from national governments of Finland, India, Netherlands and Rwanda, multilateral bodies like the EU Commission, The World Bank, European Investment Bank and non-government entities like Ellen MacArthur Foundation, European Remanufacturing Council, EEB, Holland Circular Hotspot, Circle Economy, SITRA, WBCSD, Chatham House, and many more.

Ms. Shalini Goyal Bhalla, Founder & Managing Director, ICCE, emphasized “it is the most opportune moment for the Global South to lead a circular transition, ultimately leading to mitigating climate change.” She emphasized the need for fair redistribution of resources to ensure that all individuals and communities had access to the essential resources.

Chris Whyte, Founder and Executive Director of ACEN, said “the transition to a Circular Economy led by the Global South is imperative to meet the needs for a just and sustainable future – there are common threads across our countries that both underpin this, and provide a rich platform for collaboration across the global south and with our northern partners”.


Mr. N. Ashok Kumar, IAS, Adviser (I&E) at the Embassy of India, Brussels, emphasized the importance of international cooperation in achieving circularity goals. He highlighted India PM’s Modi’s 3P vision – “pro-planet people” to meet the climate challenges and commitments by nations.

Freek Van Ejik, Co-chair of ECESP, highlighted the role of circular economy platforms in facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing among stakeholders. Andrea Liverani, Lead Specialist, Sustainable Development, Europe, and Central Asia at the World Bank, emphasized the critical role of the circular economy in achieving sustainable development goals.

Piotr Barczak, ACEN Foundation’s Circular Economy Program Manager urged: “all governments and development agencies should better strategize their initiatives, by carefully assessing the needs, streams, skills and design appropriate action plans to implement the positively disrupting new policies and business models.

Organisations like the World Bank, Circular Economy Coalition, Circle Economy Foundation, European Environmental Bureau, ACEN Foundation, Holland Circular Hotspot expressed their solidarity.

The participants agreed that the proposed Global South Center on Circular Economy to be set up in India was a vital initiative, addressing the pressing need for coordinated action and knowledge exchange. Led by the Global South, this initiative promises the twin benefits of the sustainable economic growth of the Global South countries and supporting  the Global North in meeting their Net Zero targets. By fostering a pro-planet mindset and strengthening supply chains, the Center promises to drive transformative change on a global scale.

Shalini Goyal Bhalla
Managing Director
International Council for Circular Economy

Chris Whyte
African Circular Economy Network
South Africa