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Moving from strategy to action on circular defence, EDA’s IF CEED conference charts way ahead on collaborative projects

Ensuring operational efficiency while safeguarding the environment was the focus of EDA’s largest conference on circular defence. The Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED) Third General Conference gathered over 170 experts from 23 European countries to further develop transnational initiatives exploiting circularity principles for defence. Participants focused on designing collaborative project ideas and strategies for their implementation. 

The conference, organised under the auspices of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU2024BE) and in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), heard how moving forward with collaborative projects was now key to reduce the environmental impact of the armed forces while bringing operational benefits to military operations. 

In his speech, EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý, said, “IF CEED plays a crucial role in advancing circularity in defence, striving to produce tangible collaborative outcomes. It has consistently aimed at win-win outcomes that would benefit both the EU’s operational defence needs and the green transition. EDA has been championing circular economy in defence due to its potential to enhance the operational effectiveness of Member States’ Armed Forces.”

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Among others, the Belgian Minister of Defence, Ludivine Dedonder, the Director General of the DG ENV  Florika Fink-Hooijer, the Director General Material Resources and National Armaments Director (NAD) of the Belgian Ministry of Defence Frédéric Goetynck, the NAT Vice-Presidents at the EESC Maria Nikolopoulou and Cillian Lohan, and the Head of Defence Sector, Security and Defence Policy of the European External Action Services, Mariya Dellevska have addressed the audience with their high-level key messages, inter alia on climate change and defence, the implementation of circular economy in defence, environmental remediation in Ukraine, and strategic autonomy as a pillar of the Critical Raw Materials Act.

While the EDA marks 20 years of promoting European Defence cooperation, this working event has gathered the largest defence community engaged in Circular Economy worldwide for both dedicated incubation sessions within the IF CEED “Project Circles” and wider cross-cutting panels among Ministries, industry, research-and-technology organisations, academia, and other private and public bodies/entities.

Using additive manufacturing to support in-mission repair, establishing secure exchange of data via digital passports, developing smart recycling routes for military textiles, streamlining procurement and maintenance processes: these are some of the themes addressed by IF CEED Programme Manager, Prof. Dr. Pierre Di Toro, and the numerous experts in their testimonies. Speakers have highlighted the achievements across IF CEED priority areas and provided key messages for the way forward.

About IF CEED 

EDA’s 3rd Annual General Conference of the Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED), the EU programme co-funded by the European Commission’s DG Environment (DG ENV) under the EU LIFE 2021-2027. The conference has benefited of the collaboration with the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP) - a joint initiative of the EESC and the DG ENV - and the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD).