Antwerp Fertile Ground for Circular Economy, WRF19 Program Update

The next World Resources Forum will take place in Antwerp, Belgium from 24 to 27 February. Co-organised by the Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM) and the World Resources Forum Association (WRF) this international conference will focus on closing resource loops and achieving the circular economy. A circular economy approach helps to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change. It delivers jobs and environmental wins. Antwerp, as Europe’s second largest port, has proven itself to be fertile ground for the development of a circular economy.

The organisers have published the latest programme update with new speakers, new sessions and some very special events.

Students Design out E-waste in E-Loop Challenge

The electronic waste mountains around the world are growing due to our ever increasing appetite for electronics and digital devices and our common failure to deal with our waste in decent ways. The Recupel E-Loop Challenge has called on students from around the globe to face this challenge head on and design out e-waste. Fifteen students have been selected from over 1700 applicants. They will come to World Resources Forum Antwerp from countries as diverse as Germany, Greece, Algeria, Ghana, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and Mexico and together hold a four day boot camp. The students will brainstorm about possible solutions to prevent, eradicate and recycle e-waste. Their solutions will be presented to the conference.

World Resources Forum Antwerp

Circular Fashion Show; Circular is Beautiful

Circular Fashion Show will demonstrate that fashion and circularity can go hand in hand, showcasing creations by ecological brands such as La Fille d’O, Ilke Cop and Tropas. No better place for this of course than … the fashion capital of Belgium.

Politicians and Scientists Transmit Sense of Urgency

Janez Potocnik
World Resources Forum Antwerp
Sandrine Dixson

High level political dialogue is as always integral part of the World Resources Forum. Government, business and scientific leaders from all over the world will present the most pressing messages and transmit the sense of urgency. Highlights include Janez Potocnik, former EU Commissioner for the Environment and Co-Chair of the UN International Resource Panel, Sandrine Dixson-Declève, new and first female Co-President of the Club of Rome, and the American environmentalist and human rights activist Dianne Dillon-Ridgley.

World Resources Forum Antwerp
Dianne Dillon-Ridgley

The World Resources Forum Antwerp conference will get a very special welcome by a surprise speaker who will be announced in the first week of February.

Cities and Ports take Action Together

Thought leaders and stakeholders will share and discuss their visions on specific topics in global sessions, such as Cities and regions as laboratories for circular change, Soil and land as a valuable resource and Circular bioeconomy – circular by nature. Leading global ports Antwerp and Rotterdam will together discuss how ports can contribute to a circular economy together with the industry.

Plastics and Textile – Recycle!

World Resources Forum Antwerp
Cordie Aziz

More and more countries are closing their borders for low-quality waste streams. A special session hosted by OVAM discusses with experts the global challenges of plastics and textile recycling. Speakers include Cordie Aziz and members of the OECD and ISWA.

Special Session on Achieving Circular Economy by Mayors

In Mayors and Municipalities for Circular Economy a panel discussion between the Mayors from Bergen, Rotterdam, Porto, Bilbao, Sao Paulo and Beirut will be held. What steps have they taken to achieve a circular economy? How have they designed and implemented better waste and resource management? What opportunities and challenges did they encounter? How can they do more? Expect inspiring views from a multitude of angles; a Mayor of Sao Paolo for example started his career as a waste picker on one of the city’s garbage dumps.

Deep Dives and Live Experiences

Over 40 deep dive workshops, organized by partner organisations, will allow very intense small group interaction. Visit for the workshop programme.

Site Visits

The last day of the congress is dedicated to site visits of Belgian companies or organisations that are true pioneers in terms of sustainability and circular economy. Planned visits include Blue Gate Antwerp (the first circular, eco-effective, water-bound business park in Belgium) and Circular South, a European multi-million project that aims to put a circular economy into practice at neighbourhood level.

Celebrate Circular Antwerp

At the end of each conference day various social events will take place, allowing to network with peers from all over the world. Expect activities ranging from a guided tour of Antwerp and a concert by the famous Belgian pianist Jef Neve to a gala dinner at Grand Café Horta and an afterparty at De Koninck Brewery. Find here the special WRF19 conference site with all information and program updates. 

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