Inform-Prioritize-Collaborate: Cooperation of Regions on innovation in forest management, use of wood and forest-related services
The workshop was held on May 20, 2014, in the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union, Brussels.
Forestry and forest-based industries play a major role in the EU bio-economy policy, and the new EU Forest Strategy testifies the importance of this sector. Innovation will be crucial to maximize the benefits for society and economy. The European Innovation Partnership Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability specifically addresses this issue in its Strategic Implementation Plan and offers a framework for supporting innovation in forestry.
The workshop aimed at motivating Regions to cooperate in setting priorities for innovation in the forestry sector and to connect potential stakeholders around concrete actions which could be supported by EU funding programmes.
More than 150 participants contributed to the event that was organized by EFI, ERIAFF (European Regions for Innovation in Agriculture, Food and Forestry), CEPF (European Confederation of Forest Owners), Euromontana (European Mountain Regions Network), Eustafor (European State Forest Association), and supported by the Regions of Basque Country, Free State of Bavaria, Castilla y Lèon, Catalonia, Extremadura, North Karelia, Toscana and Veneto.
The workshop offered a comprehensive participatory approach in setting the agenda. During registration to the workshop, participants had to select relevant innovation challenges out of 10 proposals. The four most voted challenges were presented by experts at the workshop, including recommendations for innovation actions. These four selected challenges were:
Participants voted for each challenge on the four most relevant innovation actions and discussed them on eight parallel tables during a brokerage session.
The workshop revealed an interesting diversity of regional perceptions on innovation challenges for the forestry sector in Europe. Many promising actions and approaches have been already implemented in some regions, they offer starting points for future cross-border cooperation. The main outcomes of the workshop will be disseminated to the Europen Commission services, the European Parliament, the Member States, the Regions and stakeholders of the forest-based sector.