A future EU overall strategy for agriculture and forest genetic resources management: Finding consensus through policymakers’ participation

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The Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe (GRSE) is an overarching, integrated strategy for the conservation and use of plant, animal and forest genetic resources both the domesticated and wild to ensure more sustainable EU land use policies for the future. It was developed in a three-step consensus seeking iterative process involving EU, national and regional level policymakers, and umbrella organisations representatives. The GRSE provides the missing link between basic biodiversity management (genetic resources) and associated policies and strategies addressing agriculture, forestry and the environment. It also provides guidance for more effective and harmonised genetic resources management in the EU and beyond, and promotes stakeholders’ collaboration in all these areas. In this study, we use a foresight participatory approach to understand the perspectives of identified stakeholders in the adoption of the GRSE at local, national and European level. This methodology enabled researchers to discuss the role of genetic resources management in addressing geographical, economic and societal needs in Europe and beyond, and anticipate the long-term beneficial impacts. The study assessed the outlook for the adoption of the GRSE in the wider policymaking perspective. It applied a three-step Delphi methodology single bond i) interviews, ii) survey, and iii) focus group discussion. It involved a 26-member policy makers panel representing EC and national-level policymakers, and umbrella organisations from across the European Union. Our study reveals a lack of consensus regarding the need to align policy and legal frameworks at national and European levels, but consensus was found in the need to jointly adopt national action plans across member states. Based on these results we identified three main priorities for addressing the gaps within current genetic resources management and conservation approaches: i) align fragmented policy for and develop legislation to harmonise the operational differences between European countries, ii) find funding mechanisms for improving genetic resources infrastructure, research and business development across Europe, and iii) raise awareness and collaboration to involve actors from different levels and sectors.

N. Lovrić, C. Fraccaroli, M. Bozzano, A future EU overall strategy for agriculture and forest genetic resources management: Finding consensus through policymakers’ participation, Futures, Volume 151, 2023,103179, ISSN 0016-3287, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2023.103179 .