Conference & Workshop | Circular Resources for our Common Future: Cities as Drivers

A G20 | U20 India side event in New Delhi, India

Tue, Feb 28 - Thu, Mar 2 2023
Asia/Kolkata: All day
India Habitat Center - New Delhi
New Delhi, India

Laurentiu Morariu via Unsplash


The concept of Circular Economy (CE) is not novel but gained increased traction at the global stage and regionally, as cascading disruptions occurred in critical supply chains (food, energy, electronic components…) after the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. These events triggered a shift, especially in cities that were forced to adapt rapidly to a new reality.

However, while the initial transformation in cities was triggered by the pandemic, local action has since been sustained because of the co-benefits of a more localized economy and supply chain including:

  • autonomy from global constraints and lower risk of supply chain disruption,
  • public support for a sustainable alternative to carbon-intensive growth/supply chain models, 
  • increase in local employment and business opportunities, and 
  • improvement in socio-economic conditions linked to small business growth

Local governments are, however, finding it difficult to take their actions to scale, with a critical issue being a disconnect between global and national responses to the issues raised around circularity, and sustainability of critical supply chains at the height of pandemic-related disruptions.

In the past 18 months, INTERSECTING, the foresight publication series of the Global Solutions Initiative (GSI) explored possible solutions to this global/local disconnect, particularly around the topic of plastics, global value chains, and urban metabolism. The results of these publications provide ways to address the complexity of circular economy at scale.

Building on the ‘Intersecting’ rationale and the work of CEEW, GIZ, GSI, NIUA and UNEP with a focus on environmental protection and resource efficiency within cities and urban areas as drivers and implementers of circular economy, the event will bring together stakeholders from local governments, city commissioners, businesses, think tanks and international organizations to answer the following questions:

·     What are global demands (G20 | U20)?

·     What is happening locally?

·     How is circular economy in cities understood and implemented?

·     Who are the actors?

·     What policies are there?

·     What are practical examples?

·     What works and what does not?

·     What barriers are there, and what is needed to overcome them?

·     What is needed to connect global demands and local action?

The event will focus on three pillars: Understanding, Envisioning and Implementing and use interactive peer-learning formats. In this conference, we aim to create a collaborative learning space where city officials get answers to their questions and solutions to their challenges, guided by experts and supported by peers.

The focus sectors are:

  1. Transport & mobility
  2. WASH
  3. Governance & habitats

Throughout the conference, participants will have ample opportunity to:

  • Have conversations with others who speak the same language
  • Ask your burning questions
  • Get open and honest feedback on your approach
  • Share your own experiences and stories
  • Foster new relationships

Participants will leave with:

  • a better understanding of global policy discussions and local action for a circular economy transition,
  • new, practical insights and an upgraded toolbox, to implement right away,
  • a vision for applied future action,
  • a network of cities and city-stakeholders driving the transition at a city level.

The event will cross the lines between stakeholder groups that feed into the G20 process such as the Urban20, Think 20/Think 7, as well as major initiatives within the G20 India Presidency. 


Relevance to the G20 process: 

There is a strong environment focus in the G20 India Presidency, with its theme being “One Earth, One Family, One Future”. Within this overall framework, an initial mapping of the G20 India priorities (CEEW, ICRIER, Nov. 2022) pointed to the ‘’circular economy’’ as a major cross-cutting or “intersecting” issue. Circularity, within the framework of Resource Efficiency, will therefore be part of the main dialogues organized by the G20 India Presidency. Similarly, global commitments and initiatives are echoing calls for transformation of the global economy.

In parallel, under the chairmanship of Jakarta in the Urban 20 (U20), cities have called upon the G20 Leaders to respond to the issues of economic and social recovery for all, ensuring that post-pandemic global recovery is inclusive and equitable, while supporting decent livelihoods for all. This U20 agenda is moving forward under the G20 Indian Presidency under the lead of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India National Institute for Urban Affairs (NIUA). NIUA is the lead knowledge partner of the U20 stakeholder process.


The event is co-organized by CEEW (the Council on Energy, Environment and Water), GIZ GmbH (Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit), GSI (Global Solutions Initiative), NIUA (the National Institute of Urban Affairs) and UNEP (the United Nations Environment Program).




Day 0 | Tuesday, 28 February 2023




City Mixer | Networking, and dinner

City officials connect with each other over relaxed conversations and dinner.


1800 – 1930

City Mixer


  • Utilities: Energy and mobility
  • WASH: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
  • Governance, habitats, and citizen services



Conference Day 1 | Wednesday, 1 March 2023


Registration and networking tea/coffee

1000 – 1100

Inaugural plenary

1000 – 1005

Welcome address by Mr Hitesh Vaidya, Director, NIUA

1005 – 1010

Context setting: Circular Resources in India Cities by Ms Himani Jain, Sr Programme Lead, CEEW

1010 – 1045

International perspectives: Cities as drivers of Circular Resources: Panel discussion

  • U20 Sherpa, Mr Praveen Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, Ahmedabad,
  • Ms Antje Berger (tbc), German Embassy New Delhi,
  • Mr Atul Bagai or Ms Sharon Gil, UNEP,
  • Mr Nicolas Buchoud, Fellow of the Global Solutions Initiative and Special Advisor to the U20

1045 – 1100

Keynote by Chief Guest Mr Amitabh Kant, Sherpa, G20 Indian Presidency (tbc) 

1100 – 1300

Technical Sessions: City-led roundtables on integrating circular economy in resource management and governance in cities

1100 – 1115


1115 – 1215

Parallel thematic roundtables


  • Energy and mobility – Presentations by Commissioners of Bhopal, Rajkot, and Thane
    Moderated by Ms Shuva Raha, CEEW
  • WASH: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene – Presentations by Commissioners of Indore, Ambikapur, Mysore
    Moderated by Ms Paramita Dey, NIUA
  • Governance and Habitat – Presentations by Commissioners of New Town Kolkata, Coimbatore, New Raipur
    Moderated by Development Alternatives (N.N.)

Moderated roundtable discussion with experts from other Cities (Indian and international), U20 delegates, industry, think tanks, and academia 

1215 - 1300

Parallel fishbowl discussions


  • Energy and mobility
  • WASH: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
  • Governance and Habitat

1300 – 1400

Lunch, followed by Walk & Talk

1400 – 1600

Peer Circles: Experience sharing on defining, implementing and scaling-up circular economies in cities

1400 - 1500

Peer Circles I: Gathering inspiration “unconference-style” with businesses, city representatives, international institutions and think tanks

1500 - 1600

Peer Circles II: Thematic experience sharing


  • Energy and mobility: Moderated by: Ms Aishwarya Raman, Executive Director, Ola Mobility Institute
  • WASH: Moderated by Mr Suneel Pandey, Director, Environment and Waste Management, TERI
  • Governance and Habitats: Moderated by: Mr PSN Rao, Director, School of Planning and Architecture

1600 – 1630

Tea break

1630 – 1800

Octi-Tank Deep Dive: Six innovators pitch their ideas/solutions.

1630 – 1730

Octi-Tank Innovator pitch presentations

1730 – 1800

Deep Dive: In conversation with Guest of Honour Mr Parameswaran Iyer, CEO, NITI Aayog and

Brazil Embassy (N.N.)


End of Day 1

Conference Day 2 | Thursday, 2 March 2023


Networking tea/coffee

1000 – 1100

Learning Lab: Tools to enable city officials understand, define and implement circular approaches.

  • Circle City Scan | This Tool allows local governments and city change agents to identify and prioritise circular opportunities for their city or region, based on socioeconomic and material flow data about their context.
    Mr Jordi Pascal, Circle Economy (TBC)
  • Circular City Actions Framework and policy toolbox | The Circular City Actions Framework provides urban changemakers with five complementary strategies they can use to start working towards a more circular system. The framework is action-based to provide users with concrete strategic directions and showcase the desired outcomes of each strategy.
    Ms Magashen Naidoo, ICLEI (TBC)
  • The Circular Cities Barometer | The Barometer scores cities based on performance on 12 subjective indicators of circularity, organised in four categories: 1. Buildings, 2. Systems, 3. Living, and 4. Leadership.
    Mr Cédric de Meeûs, Holcim (TBC)
  • Circular Jobs Monitor | The Monitor provides answers by gathering and displaying data on the numbers, ranges and locations of jobs that are part of the circular economy around the world.
    Ms Sharon Gil, UNEP

1100 - 1200

Tool Deep Dives

1200 – 1230

Reflections and learnings

1230 – 1315

Valedictory: Closing session and way forward

1230 – 1240

Conference summary by Ms Paramita Dey, Head (Resources and Waste) NIUA

1240 - 1320

Fireside chat with

  • Ms Roopa Mishra, Joint Secretary, Swachh Bharat Mission,
  • Mr G Asok Kumar, Director General, NMCG,
  • Mr Dinesh D Jagdale, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy


Moderated by Mr Nicolas Buchoud, Fellow of the Global Solutions Initiative and Special Advisor to the U20

1320 - 1345

Distribution of Certificates by dignitaries

1345 - 1355

The way forward by Mr Hitesh Vaidya, Director, NIUA

1355 – 1400

Vote of thanks by Ms Shuva Raha, Head – New Initiatives, CEEW


Lunch and end of conference