Results BioStep Forum on Creating Networks for the Transition to a Bio-based and Circular Economy

The EU Bioeconomy Strategy is currently undergoing a review, which will be completed by mid-2017 and underpin the future orientation of the strategy. At the same time, policy-makers are discussing the links between the bioeconomy and the circular economy and whether the two concepts should be combined in a single strategy. The objectives of the BioSTEP Forum, which took place on 29 March 2017 in Brussels, Belgium, were:

  • To present and discuss the results of the stakeholder engagement activities in BioSTEP and its value to the current policy discussions on the bioeconomy and the circular economy.
  • To discuss how strategies can be developed in a participatory way, ensuring that the change in economic value chains that is necessary for the transition to a bio-based and circular economy is understood and supported by all stakeholders.
  • To provide an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss barriers and opportunities related to the participatory development of bioeconomy and circular economy strategies.

The outcomes of the BioSTEP Forum fed into the finalisation of a policy paper, which provides policy-makers with recommendations for effective stakeholder and public engagement in a bio-based and circular economy.

The conference was attended by 55 bioeconomy stakeholders, including several members of the EU Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel.

After the introduction by BioStep partners, a presentation by Lino Paula (DG Research & Innovation, European Commission) provided insights on the ongoing review of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy. Until the review is concluded, which will be in early 2018, the Commission is looking forward to getting more feedback on the strategy. Until now, much feedback has stemmed from the Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel, where 30 actors from different sectors meet to discuss the matters of the European bioeconomy. Currently, the Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel is working on a ‘Stakeholders’ Manifesto for the Bioeconomy in Europe ’, which is to be finalised by June 2017.

In the session on the challenge of building new networks within the bio-based and circular economy, Lucas Porsch (Ecologic Institute) and Sara Davies (EPRC), gave an introductory presentation on the challenges that stakeholders may face when re-organising the economic value chain towards bio-based products and processes.

For the session ‘Effective stakeholder and public engagement: Insights from practitioners’, Anu Reinikainen provided insights on stakeholder and public engagement in the context of the Finnish bioeconomy strategy. Dietmar Lemmens (Municipality Bergen op Zoom) gave a presentation on promotion of Bio-based products and stakeholder and public engagement activities in the Bio-based Delta (The Netherlands).

After the presentations on the "BioSTEP policy paper: Key recommendations for effective participation & network creation" the participants discussed the five key recommendations for effective participation and network creation in a World Café setting. Members of the EU Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel, including Christine Bunthof from WUR, acted as working group rapporteurs.

The agenda of the workshop, the list of participants, the Workshop Proceedings and the given presentations can be found on the BioStep webpage on Results (Results > Workshops) under the heading 'BioSTEP Forum'.

The BioSTEP policy paper - Creating Networks for the Transition to a Bio-based and Circular Economy can be found on the BioStep webpage on Results (Results > Publications).

Wageningen Economic Research (WEcR) is a partner in the BioSTEP Consortium. Dr Volkert Beekman is contact person on behalf of WEcR.
At the BioSTEP Forum were present: Erik de Bakker (WEcR) and Greet Overbeek (WEcR)

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