The ambition of the AER Working Group on the Bioeconomy is to create a community amongst European regions to share challenges, and opportunities, and create the ground for future partnerships and projects.
Youth at the heart of the shift to green gold
On the occasion of the AER Summer Academy in Ireland, the AER working group on the Bioeconomy facilitated a workshop with young people, to challenge the current situation and ask how the bioeconomy can become the green gold for a sustainable future.
Getting the opportunity to increase knowledge and awareness around the challenges in the field of agriculture, especially for youth, was a wonderful and rewarding experience. The discussions and conversations we had during as well as after the workshop were very interesting, I learned that youth in other regions face many of the same challenges as we do in Norway with the low profitability, lack of free time and challenges with recruitment and finding substitute workforce when needed. In addition to the aforementioned challenges which I believe are essential to overcome for farming to become more attractive for the future generations, this workshop made me reflect a lot upon the importance of giving young farmers opportunities for development such through exchange programs. I brought this perspective with me into many conversations, and hopefully, it will lead to facilitation of such opportunities in the nearest future in my own and other regions.Sigrun Myrvang, youth representative, Innlandet (NO)
Indeed sustainability has three pillars: economic, social, and environmental.
In an increasingly resource-scarce world, we want to lift and empower youths and young leaders, through our democratic institutions and build tolerance for each other’s needs. I think young people see this more clearly than previous generationsAud Hove, Chair of the AER Working Group on the Bioeconomy
The AER Summer Academy: a forum for exchanges
The AER Summer Academy is a forum for exchanges of experience when it comes to regional development and expertise in Europe.
- Promoting regional democracy and the principle of subsidiarity.
- Providing an opportunity for regional representatives to build networks with their counterparts across wider Europe.
- Fostering interregional cooperation.
- Promoting European integration, identity and sense of belonging among young people.
- Facilitating exchanges of experience and good practices between regions, policy-makers and young people.
- Supporting mutual learning.
The European Year of youth: an opportunity to reframe policies
The 2022 edition of the AER Summer Academy was a very special edition. Indeed, this was the first in-person edition since the COVID-19 pandemic. As has been shown since, the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on youth. The event taking place during the European Year of Youth, was an opportunity to reframe policies and policymaking. This was the opportunity to make mobility and exchanges with peers across Europe possible again. To listen to young voices, and learn to listen better too.
Skills & the bioeconomy
The bioeconomy covers all sectors and systems that rely on biological resources. It spans over sectors as diverse as food, construction, energy and waste management. In the context of societal challenges such as climate change, food security, energy independence and environmental sustainability, the bioeconomy is deemed to generate solutions for a better use of resources, life-cycle management and the development of new materials.
Because the industries in the bioeconomy, the value chains, the collaborations between stakeholders are new, there are major challenges in terms of skills: both to develop the right skills and to attract & retain skills in the industry.
The workshop looked specifically at food and food production for the future, with sustainability and security as the tagline. A key focus was on young voices in relation to food production and education, innovation and recruitment.
- Aud Hove, Deputy Mayor of Innlandet (NO), Chair of AER working group on the bioeconomy
- Gjertrud Nordal, youth representative, Innlandet (NO)
- Sigrun Myrvang, youth representative, Innlandet (NO)
Presentation from Innlandet available here
- Vivian Stribos, EU Lobbyist for Gelderland (NL)
- Freek Beijer, youth delegate, Gelderland (NL)
Presentation from Gelderland is available here
- Mairead nic Iomaire, Cill Ulta Centre for Sustainability, Donegal (IE)
Presentation from Udarás Na Gaeltachta is available here
Upcoming activities of the working group
The Working Group will organise an experience-sharing workshop on the sides of the AER Bureau meeting in December. The exact date of the workshop will be communicated ASAP
Regions interested in the topic, could be specifically interested in the following event which take place in the context of the European Week of Regions:
- Food 2030: Regions as agents of change for sustainable food systems and biobased solutions
Region Värmland invited the CEO of Paper Province, a cluster organization, to present their experience in the transition to biobased solutions. The session will provide feedback on the Food 2030 policy and emphasise the role of regions in the green transition through a bioeconomic lens. The participatory lab will focus on food and sustainable food production. It will also be an opportunity to provide feedback on food systems and bio-based solutions directly to representatives from the European Commission.
If you would like to be informed about the activities of the Working Group on the Bioeconomy, please fill in this questionnaire (3 questions + contact details), it is possible to join anytime!