Bioeconomy Manifesto presented at Bioeconomy Policy Day on 16 November in Brussels

On November 16, the Bioeconomy Policy Day took place in the H2020 Societal Challenge 2 Info Week, with participation from  nine relevant Directorate Generals. The European Commission (EC) presented its review of the European Bioeconomy Strategy and Action Plan. The high-level opening reflected on the experiences gained over the past four years and the need for new actions.

It started with welcoming words by John Bell, Director for Bioeconomy, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, speeches by Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation and Simona Bonafe, member European Parlement and rapporteur of the Waste Package (CE), and the presentation of the European Bioeconomy Stakeholders Manifesto by Joanna Dupont-Inglis, chair of the European Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel (EBSP). The Manifesto sets out a societal agenda for bioeconomy development. PLATFORM is one of the organisations that signed this Manifesto, and Christine Bunthof, coordinator of PLATFORM and member of the EBSP was actively involved as member of the Manifesto editing group.

European Bioeconomy Strategy
In 2012 the EC adopted a strategy for "Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe". This strategy proposes a comprehensive approach to address the ecological, environmental, energy, food supply an natural resource challenges that Europe and the world are facing.  It focuses on three areas: the investment in research, innovation and skills, the reinforcement of policy interaction and stakeholder engagement and the enhancement of markets and competitiveness in bioeconomy sectors. The EC  presented its review of the (five objectives and the three pillars of the  2012 Strategy and Action Plan, and discussed its findings with stakeholders and policy makers. The review paves the way for a revision of the strategy, expected next year.

                The bioeconomy encompasses the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, bio-based products and bionergy. In total the bioeconomy represents €2.2 trillion of the EU’s economy.               
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                         Commissioner Moedas said in his speech: Just a few days ago, we have published the review of our bioeconomy strategy. It shows we have enormous progress. Many of the actions we set out on have been accomplished. But it also shows there are several things that need our attention. I wish to make three points today: First, we need to improve our communication surrounding the bioeconomy. Second is that the bioeconomy will only succeed if different policy areas and disciplines work together. And thirdly, we need to encourage greater private investment in the bioeconomy.”                                                                 

European Bioeconomy Stakeholders Manifesto
Involvement of stakeholders is one the key elements of the Strategy. At the policy day, the European Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel presented its European Bioeconomy Stakeholders Manifesto to Commissioner Carlos Moedas. Representatives from large and small companies, NGOs, biomass producers, regions, and academia from all over Europe, as members of the European Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel, have prepared this Manifesto. The Manifesto recognises the opportunities and challenges of developing the Bioeconomy, and provides inspiration to regions and Member States, at various stages of development of their Bioeconomy strategies, as well as to the European Union as a whole. It outlines concrete actions which should be initiated and carried out by the Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel and its members' wider networks, as well as by society at large, to contribute to the transition towards a bioeconomy for Europe. Because the actions demand cooperation between the different stakeholders, momentum for a ‘Bioeconomy stakeholder movement’ across Europe can be created. 

       Europe is setting course for a resource-efficient and sustainable economy. The goal is a more innovative and low-emissions economy, reconciling demands for sustainable agriculture and fisheries, food security, and the sustainable use of renewable biological resources for industrial purposes, while ensuring biodiversity and environmental protection.  

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Carlos Moedas said in his speech: The Manifesto recognises the complexity of the topic. But at the same time, it reached out to a wide variety of stakeholders, from the forestry sector, to fisheries, to NGOs and many others. It creates common understanding of what the bioeconomy is. It creates a common engagement to promote its potential.”


Workshop on the Bioeconomy Manifesto
With the in-depth interactive workshop “The Bioeconomy Manifesto as a Collaborative Tool for Facilitating Innovation and Growth for a Stronger European Bioeconomy” on 17 November, the Panel reached out to other interested players in the Bioeconomy to share with them the objectives of the Manifesto as well as its policy recommendations. There are a number of actions and next steps that the Panel wants to initiate to advance the Bioeconomy and other interested stakeholders were invited to discuss those.

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