The European Bioeconomy Strategy, updated in 2018, promotes a sustainable and circular EU Bioeconomy that contributes to the climate-neutrality of the EU, the implementation of a circular economy, and puts emphasis on sustainable food and farming systems as well as on forestry and bio-based sectors. These principles are contributing mainly to two political guidelines of the new Commission: the “European Green Deal” and “An economy that works for people”. Under the first priority, a sustainable and circular EU Bioeconomy should effectively contribute to the decarbonisation of industry and furthermore support clean technology through bio-based innovation with concrete actions. Under the second priority, the EU Bioeconomy Strategy is meant to encourage local bio-based innovation as well as to facilitate the modernisation of EU industries. Primary producers should benefit from the EU Bioeconomy, and social rights are also considered in the priority guidelines. The environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability are considered to be the underlying governing framework that should ultimately address the contribution of the EU’s Bioeconomy to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy puts forward an Action Plan to drive a sustainable and circular bioeconomy that serves Europe's society, environment and economy. Within this plan the Commission commits to build an EU-wide, internationally coherent, monitoring system to track economic, environmental and social progress towards a sustainable bioeconomy. The Joint Research Centre is leading this Action in collaboration with EC policy DGs and external experts.
According to the Action Plan of the EU bioeconomy strategy, the bioeconomy monitoring system to be developed should cover all three pillars of sustainability (economic, social and environment); be coherent with other monitoring systems, especially at Member States’ level; build upon existing internationally-shared frameworks; monitor impacts of EU Bioeconomy within and outside the EU; report indicators related to the physical state of relevant resources of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and their services, of primary production sectors in the EU and all industrial sectors that rely on biological resources; present the information in a user-friendly way, through dashboards and other interactive visualisations in the Knowledge Centre for the Bioeconomy; and should undergo periodic review.
To facilitate collaboration, the EC Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy has organised three workshops during the development phase of the EU bioeconomy monitoring system. A first workshop of the Community of Practice on Bioeconomy was held in Brussels in November 2018, entitled “Setting the scene for monitoring the economic, environmental and social progress of the EU Bioeconomy” and focussed on existing monitoring approaches for the bioeconomy or related fields.
A second workshop was held in Ispra in June 2019, entitled: “Shaping the EU Bioeconomy Monitoring System: a first discussion on indicators to include”, where JRC researchers collected feedback from colleagues and external, thematic experts on the proposed approach and on the preliminary list of basic indicators, including available methods to aggregate basic indicators.
At this third workshop, experts invited are from Member States and the European Commission’s services. Participants have discussed details regarding the selected indicators and the synergies of the EU-wide monitoring system to national and regional level.