Concrete support for local governments in their circular projects
The #AAL Circular project was set up by the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) to inspire and supportlocal governments in their transition to a more circular society. In this way, we also help cities and towns to achieve their climate goals and SDGs.
Concretely, we organized workshops, study days and outings where participants can get acquainted with inspiring projects and are challenged to think circularly themselves.
In addition, we actively supported a number of cities and municipalities in the start-up and development of their circular project. They received specific support and guidance on their consulting questions.
Given the broad spectrum of circular economy, we also started working with partners to include the topic transversally. In addition to the internal partners, external partnerships were also entered into with Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Flanders Circular and Agoria, among others.
All this resulted in an extensive learning network, an expertise platform on our website, a practice database with example projects and the publication of an inspirationguide.
During various inspiration sessions (workshops, study days, excursions ...) we stimulated local administrations to think about circular economy. These moments were also the ideal opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences.
A great success was our well-attended Climate Day, which included a circular economy master class. The focus was specifically on how a city, municipality or province can take the first steps towards a more circular society.
We published an inspiration guide 'Working locally and circularly on the future' full of inspiring examples, testimonies and ideas that can motivate local governments to get started themselves.
We made an inventory of all the different initiatives that cities, municipalities and intermunicipal partnerships are taking. For each project a file was drawn up which we share in a handy database that can be consulted online.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
The great diversity within circular economy and the different projects organized by local governments makes a general approach not evident. There is a continued need for an offer that is more target group specific. We are currently working on this.
The time is more than ripe for a learning network. We can work on two levels: on the one hand we want to further inspire the municipalities and smaller or starting players, on the other hand we want to provide more specific support to municipalities with more advanced plans based on their requests for advice.
Thanks to this project we have a better view on how local governments can achieve the transition to a circular economy: we identified the main levers and now know which tools they can use.
Some local governments still show somereluctance. A circular project requires courage and a sense of innovation, and not all municipalities have the necessary resources. 'Business as usual' is easier, but not always desirable. Additional supportfrom the government can accelerate the circular transition.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The project has ensured that the VVSG plays an important role in the transition to circular cities. We are happy to commit ourselves further to maintain and strengthen the animation we now have.
In 2019, we submitted two new projects to Flanders Circular, which unfortunately were not selected. However, this does not mean that we are abandoning the theme; we will continue to explore the different possibilities. For example, we will continue to add to the practice database where possible, and our inspiration guide is also written to last for some time. For the rest, we do not havesufficient financial security to allow the project to continue in its current form.