Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Circular Economy in a Sustainable Society

The third Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC2020) took place from 3–5 June 2020 under the theme “Circular Economy in a Sustainable Society”. With the aim to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable economy by focusing on identifying and discussing the concepts that nexus thinking offers to support the transition towards a circular economy.


A Nexus Approach shares many synergies with the concept of a circular economy - a system that eliminates waste, keeps resources in use, and contributes to regenerating natural systems.


By considering the maximisation of synergies, minimisation of trade-offs, and enhancement of resource use efficiency, there could be a lot that nexus thinking can offer to solve some of the above issues and hence, accelerate the transition towards a circular economy. In this context, DNC2020 intended to find answers to the following overarching question:


Which suitable concepts does nexus thinking offer to support the transition towards a circular economy?

Keynote Addresses


Raimund Bleischwitz ,Chair in Sustainable Global Resources at the University College London (UCL) and Director of the UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources (UCL BSEER) in his keynote speech talked about how in the recent times it has become relevant to use the Nexus approach in trend analysis and risk radar for resource interlinkages across time and scales. With Circular Economy, the Nexus approach would provide excellent foresign analysis.

Brendan Edgerton, Director of Circular Economy at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development talked about the business case for Circular Economy in the Private Sector. He mentioned that while the topic is gaining momentum across the globe but still only 8.6% circular and a lot needs to be done by the private sector to make sure that we are in the circular transition track. Christina Dornack, Director of the Institute and Head of the Chair “Waste Management and Circular Economy” at TU Dresden in her keynote speech talked about the vital role of engineers in the circular economy transition and the fact that the different challenges must be addressed with pragmatic and innovative techniques.

Sasha Koo-Oshima, Deputy Director of the Land & Water Division at the UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) gave FAO’s perspective on Water, Food, and Energy Nexus. She stressed the need to think about energy smart agriculture and cross sectoral planning.

With 16 interesting sessions on agro-systems, urban agriculture, water cycle and green infrastructure, urban systems and building material, mining and landfill sites, ecosystem services, assessment tools, economic instruments, business models, financing, management, participatory and equitable approaches, and system concepts supporting nexus approaches, the DNC conference provided a thorough and in depth analysis on the Nexus approach.

DNC was organised by the United Nations University (UNU-FLORES), the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden), and the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER).

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