Circular Economy Solutions Dialogues (CESD) 2022 | Localizing the circular economy imperative - What is at stake for cities?

Wed, Mar 9 2022
Europe/Berlin: 12:30 - 2:30pm
Wed, Apr 6 2022, Europe/Berlin: 12:30 - 2:30pm
Wed, May 4 2022, Europe/Berlin: 12:30 - 2:30pm
Wed, May 18 2022, Europe/Berlin: 12:30 - 2:30pm
Wed, Jun 8 2022, Europe/Berlin: 12:30 - 2:30pm


A series of  four participant-centric, co-creative and moderated dialogues discussing circular economy and urban metabolsim.


  • (1) 9 March 2022, (2) 6 April 2022, (3) 4 May 2022,  (4) 18 May 2022,  Deep Dive: 8 June 2022
  • Each session takes place between 12:30 – 14:30 CET


  • Inspire a conducive narrative feeding into the G/T20 process under Indonesian presidency
  • Analyse mechanisms scaling-up circularity and devise urban and peri-urban strategies for their implementation
  • Build on the momentum of multilateral, inter-city policy dialogues and commitments towards the circular economy

With and for whom

  • Urban policy and business decision makers, civil society, academia, think tanks, and international organizations


At the turn of the millennium a generation ago, less than half of the world population was living in cities. In a generation from now, more than two thirds of the world will be urban. Among the many imbalances of current urbanization pathways is an utter dependency on a take-make-waste logic, in other terms, the linear economy.

Since the end of the Cold War, the global adoption of the ‘infrastructure for growth’ and ‘agglomeration economy’ paradigms has continuously increased the space for production and consumption. Increased connectivity has led to the widespread dispersal of waste, including plastics and other chemicals, resulting in soil degradation and placing unprecedented stress on the Earth system. Cities already generate about 1.3 billion tons of solid waste annually, and this is projected to increase to 2.2 billion tons by 2025 and likely double in low-income countries over the next two decades.

As today's urban systems, based mainly on a linear economy, are not sustainable, the question arises as to what a world with 8 billion urban dwellers would look like. Urbanization is the main cause of many environmental challenges. However, cities can prove to be effective catalysts for the transition to a circular economy by 1) closing material and energy loops, 2) connecting social and ecosystem services, 3) supporting creative industries, 4) integrating functions and material flows through circular urban metabolism and multifunctional land use, etc.

The public sector in general, and cities in particular, can lead the way in procuring circular products and services, but cities alone cannot create a paradigmatic shift that moves the global economy away from resource extraction. Cities alone cannot respond to the challenges of an urban world.

Macroeconomic valuation and assessment of ecosystem services is an important factor in accelerating the development of the circular economy, which is highly dependent on further research as well as normative changes at the multilateral level. Investment in new physical, digital, and social infrastructure systems aimed at sustainable development of new assets and renewal of existing assets also depends on several factors.

In 2021, the G20 acknowledged the role of the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue, the G20 Platform on SDG Localization, and Intermediary Cities in recognizing both the need to accelerate resource efficiency and the role of cities and local governments. The group of think tanks (T20) also recommended to move towards a G20 pact on sustainable urbanization. In 2022, following a cycle on ‘plastics’ and a second cycle on ‘value and supply chains’, the third cycle of the Circular Economy Solutions Dialogue (CESD) will focus on Localizing the circular economy imperative – What is at stake for cities?’

Closing the gaps

To (1) analyse challenges and opportunities with regard to a circular economy transition in the urban context, (2) to identify scalable, transferable and replicable services and technologies, tools and approaches, and (3) devise urban strategies and empower leading stakeholders for their implementation, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Global Solutions Initiative (GSI) have launched the Circular Economy Solutions Dialogues (CESD). The virtual, participatory dialogue consists of 4+1 sessions exploring:

  • The integration of circularity into the urban context: How can we ensure that circularity is taken up in urban areas? What (pre-)conditions are essential to mainstream the use of existing and emerging new technological solutions? How can we align the interests of all urban stakeholders?
  • The promotion of proven solutions and case studies: What are relevant examples of urban policymakers and policy measures already putting circular economy into action? How can we spread successful policies and practices applied in urban contexts beyond national scope to reach regional and global audiences? What are the barriers and how can they be overcome?
  • The mobilization of policy instruments to scale-up circularity uptake: What can urban policymakers do to accelerate this transition? How can policies facilitate the closing of the loop in the main three areas: buildings, mobility and products?

To close the gap between theory and practice, the CESD bring together approximately 25 experts from urban policy, business, civil society, academia, think tanks, and international organizations. As organizers of the CESD, GIZ and the GSI are driven by a shared vision of a circular economy and a sustainable future for all.

Methodology and Sequencing

The process is designed as a multi-stakeholder dialogue, featuring (1) 4+1 virtual meetings mixing dialogue and leadership impulses and e-collaboration to draw out ideas in between; and (2) a comprehensive editorial strategy through the INTERSECTING project with an e-book as well as book to be edited in the second half of 2022 and a 2023 INTERSECTING summit in India (tbc) to follow.

Participants are expected to partake in all virtual meetings to ensure continuity and a genuine team spirit. The interactive and cross-sectoral nature of this moderated dialogue seeks to identify the preconditions that are necessary to scale up circular economy solutions. The co-creative, participative meetings are moderated by two experts. We believe in exchanges without power point presentations.

Expected Outputs

The collective effort and a commonly agreed list of key messages will be recorded in writing in a results booklet which will be available to the public. It shall serve implementers and policy makers in specific countries. In addition, the outcomes will enrich policy briefs and publications in the context of the G/T20 process, especially through GSI’s Global Solutions Summit as a platform for thought-leaders.



9 March 2022

1st session: Setting up the scene and exploring the paradigm shift that the circular economy demands | Participants meet online and get to know each other. This session connects the findings of the two first cycles of circular economy dialogues on ‘plastics’ and ‘supply chains’ in an urban perspective in developing and developed regions. It will highlight governance and government responses at interdependent local, national and multilateral levels regarding cities as nodes of global supply chains and as epicentres of material cycles, such as plastics and biomass.

6 April 2022

2nd session: The materiality of urban circular economy

Participants engage in deep-dive discussions. This session builds on an analysis of ongoing transformations and gridlocks in critical sectors, including housing, real estate and construction industry, critical urban services and infrastructure, including nature-based solutions, mobility and logistics, impact entrepreneurship etc. The focus will be on the intersections between the different sets of solutions and policy-making to accelerate transformations.

4 May 2022

3rd session: Models for the future?

Participants share promising approaches on how to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Solutions and critical success factors are investigated. In this session, governance and business models involving public and private stakeholders are presented and discussed. The issues of public goods and the scope of the informal economy, the attempts to foster a well-being economy, the role of multilateral financial institutions, in particular public development banks, are investigated. Participants are asked to provide elements of visualisation of future models.

18 May 2022

4th session: Policy directions  

The group translates its collective experience into policy proposals and technical recommendations. The final session connects different sets of issues across sectors, governance requirements and business priorities in order to identify levers to promote circularity. The guiding question is: What are the patterns and demands for future development on the ground in cities and through multilateral cooperation? 

8 June 2022

Deep Dive: Shifting the paradigm of urban governance and business models towards circularity in urban spheres 

Following the lead of session 3, the Deep Dive webinar will more deeply discuss urban governance and business models necessary for a paradigm shift. Relevant stakeholders will take the stage to highlight urban planning issues and offer integrated circular economy solutions for urban spheres. The webinar will be hosted by a partner institution and will be open to the public. The Deep Dive webinar will be open to the public. Participation is not mandatory but encouraged.