The three-day event kicked off with a update on the latest European Bioeconomy Strategy and action plan launched last year from Elisabetta Balzi, head of the Bioeconomy Unit at the European Commission. The latest strategy, with funds of Euro 10 billion for research into food and natural resources for the years 2021-27, is now in full swing in its implementation and Balzi gave a comprehensive, detailed presentation of where resources are being allocated.
The forum itself included dedicated panel discussions on subjects that included Implementing Biostrategies, Forest Bioeconomy and Climate Change, Circular Bioeconomy and Evolving Bioeconomy Value Chains – Case Plastic. For the first time at the forum there was also a CEO Panel of companies exclusively involved in the bioeconomy.
Grant Rosoman from Greenpeace International, who took part in the Forest Bioeconomy and Climate Change panel discussion, said, “It shows the maturity of the bioeconomy forum, that engaging with NGOs is seen as important to broaden the discussion on the bioeconomy but particularly to consider the role of the bioeconomy in the climate emergency.”
There were some key points among the eight declarations signed by delegates; to share knowledge between North, South, East and West; to make bio-based value chains explicit and traceable; to acknowledge that renewable carbon is the key for a sustainable chemical and plastic industry; agree on the emphasis of replacing fossil-fuel material and not to promote biomass burning.
What was abundantly clear at the forum was the fact that Europe is leading the way when it comes to strategies for the bioeconomy, however there is solid interest from countries across the globe to create their own strategies. Delegates from 22 countries and five continents attended the event. Marcello Brito, president of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association, (ABAG) said, “The bioeconomy is vital, and the key point of the new development model for the Amazon region which has the highest biological asset in the world.”
Christian Patermann, member of the international advisory group for the event said, “The forum this year continuously demonstrated the dynamism of the bioeconomies around the world. Held in the extreme north east of Europe, it united attendees from all four corners of the world, exchanging views and practices, discussing issues for instance on plastics and global changes, and the role the bioeconomy can play there. There is a need for more events like this in various regions of Europe and the rest of the world. Ruka might serve as a model.”
Jukka Kantola, founder and chairman of the World Bioeconomy Forum said: “We are delighted with this year’s forum outcome. This shows that the circular bioeconomy is attracting more interest among stakeholders all over the world. This forum shows that the circular bioeconomy is a vital tool in the mitigation of climate change.”
Finnish Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Ville Skinnari, sent a video message to delegates at the closing of the event in Ruka, saying, “The World Bioeconomy Forum deals directly with relevant topics on environmental matters, forest policies and trade agreements. The Finnish government is also taking these topics very seriously at the same time as working on valid solutions.”
The 2020 event has already been set for September 23-25 and will once again be held in Ruka.
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