Better ecosystem understanding is necessary in the Western Balkans – challenged to align with the European Green Deal and Circular Economy, yet pivotal in the EU enlargement discussions. This initiative designs and implements innovation policy for sustainable growth by introducing tools for territorial analysis to support development policies. The first regional effort of this kind, it positions existing circular economy challenge owners in a system viewpoint as part of a co-creation process.
Systems thinking is at the heart of circular economy concept. To truly understand local system needs, EIT Climate-KIC carried out system and policy mapping as part of a co-creation process in the Western Balkans, together with local partners, to have a clear picture of what the current ecosystem looks like and where, how and who is involved in value chains. Based on the results, evidence-based policy co-design for circular economy was structured and will act as stakeholders’ engagement plan to facilitate a sustained process for co-design and implementation of portfolio of actions. These 2 actions will lead to the establishment of a synergies’ platform for regular exchanges with managing authorities and stakeholders. The challenge-led policy co-designing thus create a holistic knowledge service that bridges the science-policy gap and translates scientific research into knowledge-led actions and teaches us that the development of the challenge-led approach is based in the management of learning processes.