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UNDP partners with Sitra to accelerate the circular economy

Today, UNDP and Sitra have formalised a transformative partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. This partnership aims to accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda and assist countries in catalysing a just and green transition through circular economy approaches.


Tuula Sjöstedt

Communications and Public Affairs Lead


The MoU was inaugurated on the sidelines of the 67th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council Meeting in Washington, DC. This strengthened collaboration between UNDP and Sitra responds to country needs by providing integrated policy and programming support. In addition, it facilitates South-South and Triangular Cooperation on circular economy themes.

Marcos Neto, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau of Policy and Programme Support, emphasised, “The partnership with Sitra will further strengthen UNDP’s circular economy offer, which supports countries to address sustainable consumption and production, transition to renewable energy, and protect, restore and conserve ecosystems to increase resilience and well-being of communities worldwide.”

Moreover, the partnership also aims to raise awareness, mobilise new resources and expand collaboration with public, private and civil society partners to advance countries’ circular economy goals. It will draw from and inform the annual World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) organised by Sitra and international collaborators, as well as regional and national UNDP-supported circular economy initiatives promoting the exchange of country experiences and solutions.

Promoting circular economy principles has always been a key focus of UNDP in advancing inclusive and sustainable development. Through its extensive portfolios in climate, chemicals and waste, nature, and energy, alongside flagship initiatives such as the Climate Promise 2025 and Nature Pledge, UNDP collaborates with more than 150 countries to drive transformative change using circular economy strategies.

Atte Jääskeläinen, President of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, affirmed, “With UNDP, Sitra has a strong global partner who is committed to the same goals our work is built on: creating a fair and sustainable future.”

UNDP supports countries to integrate circular economy interventions into their national climate plans, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), for increased climate ambition and implementation through its “Building Circularity into NDCs – A Practical Toolbox” co-developed by UNDP, UNEP’s One Planet Network, and UNFCCC secretariat, in collaboration with Sitra and other donors.

Moving forward, the UNDP-Sitra collaboration will seek synergies with Sitra’s capacity building expertise, such as the EU Circular Economy Resource Centre announced at WCEF2024 by the European Commission with member countries Finland and Belgium, alongside UNDP’s extensive global programme portfolio of 5 billion USD. This portfolio aids nearly 150 countries through grants from the GEF and Green Climate Fund (GCF), and partners from the EU, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and others.

Sitra has a long track record in advancing circularity, starting from the Finnish national road map to the circular economy, published in 2016 as the first country in the world to do so. Sitra has published several circular economy studies, playbooks for companies, guides for countries, and has brought the topic into the curricula on all levels of education in Finland. The WCEF, the leading annual event and collaboration platform on the circular economy ongoing since 2017, is an initiative by Sitra and Finland.

More information

UNDP: Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York, email:

Sitra: Tuula Sjöstedt, Communications and Public Affairs Lead, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Helsinki, email:

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