Environmental Policy Making & the Circular Economy: the Roles of the EU, Ireland and Civil Society

Hosted by the ISS21 Research for Civil Society and Social Action (REACT) Cluster & UCC Civic and Community Engagement Committee

Virtual Place

Online on Zoom. Recorded and available as resource below.


Start: 13.10.2022
End: 13.10.2022


Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21) , UCC Civic & Community ENgagement Committee

Thursday 13th October, 11.30-1 p.m. (Irish time) | 12:30 - 2pm (CET)

Colleagues from across our UNIC Universities, Cities and Communities are invited to join webinar with

  • Chair: Dr Catherine Forde, Convenor Research for Civil Society, Environment and Social Action (REACT) Cluster, ISS21, UCC.
  • Presenter: Cillian Lohan, VP for Communications of the European Economic and Social Committee and
  • Respondent: Dr Barbara Doyle-Prestwich, UCC

Cillian Lohan presents a brief outline of the history and evolution of Circular Economy policies as developed at an EU level. He examines the establishment and implementation of a Stakeholder Platform for the Circular Economy at EU level and beyond, using the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform to describe how this works. He explores the challenges in ensuring that the voices of civil society and stakeholders are heard and describe how structures like the Stakeholder Platform and the European Economic and Social Committee are designed to ensure bottom-up feedback results in policy change. Cillian will also explain how the link between research and policy is made through the various infrastructures that exist as vehicles for participatory democracy.

In response to Mr Lohan, Dr Barbara Doyle Prestwich focuses on a number of case studies in the area of sustainability, climate change and the circular economy and examine how various fora can be instrumental in engaging civil society in these matters. She examines the value of the SDGs and how they can be enacted at local level. In addition, she discusses some of the limitations of public consultations, by way of example.

Speakers contributions are followed by a Q&A.

You can watch the seminar here:

More About the Contributors:

  • Cillian Lohan has been vice-president for Communications of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) since October 2020, and an active member of the institution since 2015. He has worked extensively in the corporate and environmental sectors. He is a leader in the field of the Circular Economy and was the inaugural chair of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, which he helped to establish. Cillian has extensive experience as a delegate to the United Nations, working on initiatives such as the COP climate negotiations and the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. As CEO of the Green Economy Foundation, he has overseen ambitious projects including the planting of over one million trees in Ireland and the establishment of a wildlife reserve in Tobago. Cillian graduated from University College Cork and the University of Ulster with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Science.

  • Dr Barbara Doyle-Prestwich is Head of Plant Science and Principal Investigator in the School of Biological Earth and Environmental Science. She is a Plant Biotechnologist whose broad research interests include the use of biotechnology for sustainable agriculture, crop improvement and the use of plants for the production of medicinal compounds. She has previously worked with beneficial soil microbes for plant growth & disease resistance incorporating principles and tasks highlighted in the European Green Deal, particularly in the Farm to Fork Strategy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. More recently she has become interested in urban farming practices, specifically aeroponics and runs a number of outreach activities which opens science up to a broad audience. She is funded by the Irish Research Council, Horizon Europe, Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. She is currently working with a start-up looking at climate-resilient genome edited crop plants.

  • Dr Catherine Forde sits on the Board of ISS21 and is REACT Cluster Convenor. A lecturer in the School of Applied Social Studies, UCC, her background is in community development and she teaches community development and environmental education on qualifying undergraduate and postgraduate social work and youth and community work degree programmes. Her main research and publication interests are community development; environmental education; state-civil society relations; and children and young people's participation. She is co-editor of the themed section Community Development in Social Work Education: Themes for a Changing World (Community Development Journal, October 2021) and a member of the Ecosocial Work Special Interest Group of the European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW).


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