Bioeconomy stakeholders conference in Bratislava encouraged regions to take action
The Slovak Presidency together with European Commission under the auspices of Standing Committee of Agricultural Research (SCAR) organised a conference in Bratislava on 17 October on the role of EU regions in developing a sustainable European Bioeconomy.

The aim of the conference was to discuss with national and regional stakeholders the new bioeconomy context for the agriculture, forestry and fisheries, the role of research and innovation to overcome the big societal challenges ahead and to identify the barriers and best practices in the regions to develop their bioeconomy strategies. The wider objective of the event was to raise awareness in the EU regions on the need for bioeconomy strategy building, giving particular emphasis to the Central and Eastern European countries. 

The previous Bioeconomy Stakeholders’ conference was held in Utrecht, Netherlands in April 2016. At this second event the forest sector was much more visible due to the variety of forest-based products that were displayed, from skincare to bikes, and a session that was especially dedicated to a forestry region.

The session showcased an example of North Karelia, Finland, where the bioeconomy is successfully implemented by different actors, such as forest owners’ local bioenergy cooperative, city of Joensuu and Stora Enso. The annual turnover of the Finnish bioeconomy sector is 60 billion euros and the government has committed to double it by 2025. Moreover, there are favorable policies and numerous growth opportunities for the sector and a solid industry cluster in place. Different stakeholders and the Commission representatives followed the session with great interest. The session was organized by the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the panel was moderated by EFI Director Marc Palahí.

The conference is a part of the European Bioeconomy Strategy and Action Plan, and served as an input to the future orientation of the European Bioeconomy Strategy. The Conference built on the conclusions of previous conferences, i.e. the Bioeconomy Investment Summit in 2015, the Global Bioeconomy Summit in Berlin and the Lodz Declaration of Bioregions in 2016.

The next Bioeconomy Investment Summit will be held in Finland in December 2017.