Background and programme
The recently adopted Commission Communication "Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe" provides a strategy and action plan that build on research, innovation and investments based on better utilisation of local biological resources. This can only become a reality if stakeholders and investors at local and regional level implement it through successful partnering initiatives.
There is a need for new ways of highly committed partnering between all stakeholders: citizens, consumers, academia, industry, primary producers, and policy makers. In this respect, the conference highlighted the potential of using the whole range of mechanisms at European level, including the possibility of Public-Private Partnerships.
The strategy proposes a shift in the European economy towards greater and more sustainable use of renewable resources. 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.
The term "Bioeconomy" means an economy using biological resources from the land and sea, as well as waste, as inputs to food and feed, industrial and energy production. It also covers the use of bio-based processes for sustainable industries. Bio-waste for example has considerable potential as an alternative to chemical fertilizers or for conversion into bio-energy, and can meet 2% of the EU renewable energy target.
The EU bioeconomy already has a turnover of nearly €2 trillion and employs more than 22 million people, 9% of total employment in the EU. It includes agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and pulp and paper production, as well as parts of chemical, biotechnological and energy industries. Each euro invested in EU-funded bioeconomy research and innovation is estimated to trigger €10 of value added in bioeconomy sectors by 2025.
The conference "Partnering for a Bioeconomy in European Regions" formed part of the targeted communication activities to reinforce the implementation of the Bioeconomy Strategy, the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation organises in cooperation with the Committee of the Regions.