11th Regional 3R and Circular Economy Forum in Asia and the Pacific, 8-10 February 2023, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia



The United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) of Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) / United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Kingdom of Cambodia and the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan (MOEJ), co-organized the 11th Regional 3R and Circular Economy Forum in Asia and the Pacific from 8 to 10 February 2023 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with the theme “Integrating Circular Economy in Major Development Sectors Towards Achieving Zero Waste Societies and the SDGs”.

The Forum was officially opened by H.E. Mr. Say Samal, Minister of Environment, Cambodia. The Forum was addressed by Governor of Siem Reap, Minister of Environment of Japan, Director of UNCRD-DSDG/UN DESA, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, UN Under-Secretary General for UN Habitat and UN Under-Secretary General for UN DESA. The Forum was attended by more than 390 participants from 38 countries comprising of high level government representatives and policy makers from relevant ministries, such as the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Urban Development, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Energy, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, City Mayors/Local Government representatives, experts and international resource persons, representatives of scientific and research and development (R&D), representatives of UN and international organizations, including international financial institutions, multilateral development banks and donor agencies, representatives of the private and business sectors and NGOs and other stakeholders.

Among others, one of the key features of the 11th Reginal 3R and Circular Economy Forum was the consultation on Pre-Zero Draft of the new 3R and Circular Economy Declaration (2024-2034) – the successor of the Hanoi 3R Declaration (2013-2023) and Pre-Final version of the Report “The Second State of the 3Rs in Asia and the Pacific - Advancing Circular Economy in Asia and the Pacific Towards Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.

Ten mayors and city administrators signed the Indore 3R Declaration of Asian Mayors on Achieving Clean Water, Clean Land, and Clean Air in Cities as new signatories during the Forum. The Forum recognized the importance of intrinsic link between circular economy, SDGs and climate mitigation, and acknowledged that transitioning to circular economy can mitigate CO2 emissions emerging from extractive industries, SMEs, manufacturing units, constructions, and transport sector, among others.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also underlined the importance of lasting supply security of natural resources, raw materials and minerals, prioritizing environmental conservation and ecosystem restoration, and improving socio-economic equity, especially across developing countries. It could be an opportunity for the developing countries in Asia and the Pacific region to accelerate their shifts towards a circular economy and help build a more resilient economy, society, and environment. The Forum comprehensively discussed on various topics including: (i) linkage between circular economy, SDGs, and climate change; (ii) circular economy towards sustainable tourism; (iii) circular economy towards sustainable Tonle-Sap ecosystem; (iv) circular economy for small and medium enterprises (SMEs); (v) 3R infrastructure gap towards circular and zero waste societies; and (vi) eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics, among others.