By Dr. Dieter Mutz
The Indian economy is one of the most dynamic in the world and is characterized by rapid population growth with a growing middle-income class. In conjunction, this puts a significant strain on natural resources. For instance, in 2009, India accounted for 14% of the global population and consumed 7% of global material resources. Considering India’s current economic growth rate and assuming that the economy recovers soon after the COVID-19 crisis, India’s primary material needs may triple (to 21%) by 2030(i). This is because the Indian economy still operates in its majority in a linear fashion: extracting resources, transforming them into goods, which are then disposed off at the end of life.
EU’s Resource Efficiency Initiative India (EU-REI) aims to work together with India on the implementation of the United Nations global Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) agenda to foster the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources.
Rethinking production and consumption patterns lies at the core of project activities. EU-REI continues to foster innovative resource efficiency (RE)- and circular economy (CE)-based solutions, such as Protoprint India (plastic waste conversion into 3D printing ink). This systemic re-thinking process and the subsequent building of a robust and inclusive economy with a resilient civil society is especially relevant considering the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Within its 3.5 years of project implementation, EU-REI has obtained multiple outputs and impacts: At the national level, it supported (a) the preparation of a RE Strategy for India, (b) India’s National RE Policy (Draft), © Sectoral Action Plans prepared by four ministries on Steel, Aluminium, Construction and Demolition waste and E-waste and (d) four assessment studies on resource requirements and circular business models in the e-vehicles, solar Photovoltaics, building and construction sector and the role of Extended Producer Responsibility as a policy instrument for recovering value from E-waste and plastics packaging. At the state-level, the project supported the preparation of two state strategies wherein the Goa-RE Strategy was released in February 2020 by the EU Ambassador and the Chief Minister of the State. In addition to this EU-REI has provided RE and CE capacity building and awareness raising tools in the States of Odisha, Telangana and Goa; and at the city-level, the project released a RE-based construction material flow assessment for Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar. The project has reached out to more than 3000 people, supported in organizing the Circular Economy Mission to India with 150 EU-India B2B meetings (2019) and it has launched several awareness campaigns ranging from the international World Environment Day in 2019 & 2020 in India, resource efficiency in cricket stadiums to e-waste collection drives with EU Member States.
The recently held 15th EU-India joint summit on July 15, 2020 led to a Joint Declaration on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy, in which the Heads of Government agree to continue information exchange, knowledge and business partnerships and research and innovation to enhance mutual cooperation on commitments and implementation of SDGs, climate targets and build resilience towards the response to the pandemic.
EU-REI’s contribution to strengthening India-EU policy dialogues and inter-institutional cooperation has resulted in the draft Indian RE Policy, inspired by EU flagship program on Resource Efficient Europe and the CE Package and in the continuous support to the Government of India’s input to past and future G20 RE Dialogues.
This international connectedness of the project is especially relevant in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, when countries around the globe are working towards green recovery.
More information can be found on our website: https://www.eu-rei.com/index.html
(i) Indo-German Environment Programme. (2013). India’s Future Needs for Resources: Dimensions, Challenges and Possible Solutions. New Delhi: GIZ.
Views expressed in this publication are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paris Peace Forum.
Since January 2017 Dieter Mutz acts as Team Leader for the EU-financed project called “Resource Efficiency Initiative for India”. Since January 2016 he also holds a position as lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Northwestern Switzerland, an academic and research organization he was already affiliated from 1999 until 2010.
From 2010 until 2015, he was the Director of the Indo-German Environment Partnership Programme (IGEP), jointly implemented by the Indian Ministry of Environment Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) and GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit), financed by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The program had a focus on sustainable urban and industrial development, land and resource management as well as environmental protection and climate change mitigation.
The professional background of Dieter is sanitary engineering and he has more than 30 years of work experience with bi- and multilateral development organisations (GTZ, KfW, SECO, DEZA, UNIDO, World Bank, IDB) with assignments in Latin America, the Middle East and South Asian regions. His technical expertise lies in eco-efficient resource management and integrated solid waste and waste water management.
Dieter holds a doctorate from the University of Karlsruhe where he studied Sanitary Engineering.