1. What is the assignment that the World Bank received?
Croatia has recognized the importance of managing resources more efficiently for the benefit of the long-term economic and environmental sustainability, in line with the European Union’s (EU’s) ‘Circular Economy Package’ adopted in 2018. Circular Economy (CE) is a sustainable alternative to the traditional linear (take-make-dispose) economic model, reducing waste to a minimum by reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products. According to the latest independent Circularity Gap Report 2021, our global economy is only 8.6 % circular, wasting 91.4 % of all we use.
The Government of Croatia has acknowledged the need to move towards a circular economy, minimizing waste generation, separating at source, directing waste streams to various ways of utilization and treating waste as a resource. Therefore, the country is looking to speed up meeting EU Circular Economy targets and incorporating circular economy approaches into the current National Waste Management Plan (NWMP) 2017-2022 as well as into the future (post-2022) NWMP.In this context, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development (MoESD) requested the support of the World Bank and together with the consulting firm Global Factor, began working on the implementation of the Circular Economy Approaches in Solid Waste Management technical assistance, with the aim of improving waste management practices in Croatia and supporting the country in transitioning towards a circular economy. This technical assistance program is financed from the European Union’s Cohesion Fund using the Bank’s Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) instrument. The engagement started in September 2020 and is scheduled to last until the end of November 2022.
2. What is the role of the World Bank in advancing CE principles in the Croatian waste management sector?
The main role of the World Bank’s technical assistance is to support MoESD in the preparation of the new post-2022 NWMP, integrating the Circular Economy aspects in waste management, in line with the European Green Deal and its Circular Economy Action Plan. Diagnostic work is being done and based on the analysis, recommendations will be made on how to speed up the transformation towards CE. Activities also include strengthening of coordination among various stakeholders and promotion of joint ownership of the new waste management agenda. At present, there is a low technical and financial capacity of municipalities to handle and separate waste collection and improve recycling. Thus, the Bank is providing capacity building, as well as, access to cutting-edge knowledge and expertise to all parties involved.
Under the assignment, a participatory approach is used to support Croatia’s CE transition in the waste management sector, in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, and working with a wide range of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including: the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund (EPEEF), the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds (MoRDEUF) and other ministries, local and regional governments, waste operators (waste collectors/utility companies, waste treatment companies/recycling companies, landfill operators, etc.), fkey product manufacturers/businesses (ood, plastics, construction, electronics and ICT), large waste producers/big polluters (tourism, health, energy providers, agri-food producers), industry associations, academia, civil society, waste management associations and networks, communities and the media.
3. What are the expected benefits of this engagement for Croatia?
By improving waste management, Croatia can reduce health and environmental impacts, save space, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and unlock energy and material efficiency gains. Benefits would be felt on many levels: regionally by developing economies of scale in the waste management sector, and locally through better environmental conditions, e.g. reduced littering and landscape deterioration due to landfilling, and less water and air pollution.
Croatia can improve the management of its waste, accelerate recycling, limit the use of landfilling, and create incentives to change consumer behavior. The goal is to achieve the following targets: at least 65% of municipal waste by weight should be recovered by recycling and preparing for re-use, while the amount of municipal waste landfilling should be reduced to 10% by weight by 2035 respectively.
Source: World Bank