Let's Go Circular! - Promoting the circular economy model

11/28/20233 min read

On the occasion of the upcoming completion of the first six months of participation of Kapodistriaki Development S.A. in the project "Let's Go Circular!" of the European Territorial Cooperation Program URBACT IV and as this completes the first of the four phases of the project, a recap of the events of the previous period is following.

June 1, 2023 is considered as the official start date of the program, the duration of which is 2.5 years. The objectives of the program are:

  • The use of transnational networks to improve the administrative capacity of European cities,

  • The improvement of the capacities of the beneficiaries in the design and implementation of sustainable urban development policies, practices and innovative solutions in an integrated participatory way focusing on the space,

  • Ensuring access to URBACT knowledge and practices to political & urban development actors for their further utilization in local, regional, national and European Urban Policies, through the European Urban Initiative (EUI) & the Urban Agenda for the European Union.

The expected result of participating in the specific program is the preparation of an Integrated Action Plan (IAP) that will touch on the central issue of the network of cities in which the Development Organization participates. The Integrated Action Plan offers cities a concrete and consistent response to their policy challenge. It follows an intervention logic which aims to design and implement test-based actions. The Integrated Action Plan will link cities' actions with Cohesion Policy Funds to support long-term implementation.

The kick-off meeting of the project in question took place online on 7th of July, 2023 and was the occasion for the first acquaintance of the network partners, even remotely, as well as a brief first presentation of the next stages.

Partners from all networks had the opportunity to meet in person for the first time during the Summer University held by the URBACT IV Organizing Committee on August 28-30, 2023 in Malmö, Sweden. During the conference, the attendees were given the opportunity both to get to know the program better and to get to know each other by exchanging ideas and opinions. The program managers presented to all partners useful tactics for activating and involving the potential stakeholders of the respective regions in the projects being implemented, which can be used throughout the duration of the program.

This was followed by the visit of the network's Lead Expert Ms. Feleki Eleni to Corfu on 4th of September, 2023. The purpose of the visit was to present the structure of the program, the objectives set as well as the next steps required for its effective implementation to the potential project participants. For this reason, a special meeting was organized between the potential stakeholders, the lead expert and the Development Organization project team. During the meeting, an analysis was made of the key role that the stakeholders will play in their participation in the so-called "Local Action Group", which is a key component of the success of the program, as well as highlighting the benefits that will accrue to the local community both during and after the end of the program. The meeting was attended by representatives of the local political leadership and local bodies as well as employees of the Municipality of Central Corfu and the Diapontian Islands.

On the 25-27th of September 2023, the first live working meeting of the "Let's go circular!" network took place in Munich, Germany. It was organized by the Department of Labor and Economic Development and the Department of Climate and Environment Protection of the Municipality of Munich. During the three days, there was a presentation of the current situation and strengths of each partner, as captured by the network's Lead Expert during her visits to each city in the previous period. The next steps for the proper implementation of the program and especially for the successful organization of the meetings of the Local Action Groups were discussed and agreed upon. Also, the attendees had the opportunity to see up close typical examples of applications of the circular economy program implemented by the Municipality of Munich both in the daily life of the city and in large-scale cultural events and to visit newly established companies active in the field of circular economy.

Finally, on the 20th of November 2023, the 1st meeting of the network's Urbact Local Groups (ULGs) took place in Corfu, in which representatives of the local political leadership and local bodies participated. During the meeting, there was an extensive discussion among those present on the issues negotiated by the city network project in which the Development Organization participates. More specifically, an analysis was made of the causes of the problems affecting the network as well as their results, which have a direct impact on the local community. In addition, the participants expressed their vision by projecting in the future how they imagine the implementation of the specific thematic unit. The sharing of the opinions of the attendees on the central themes of the project is a key component of the Integrated Action Plan (IAP), which is also the final deliverable of the program.

The project will continue throughout 2024, with more meetings of potential stakeholders as well as selected actions.