FORUM "OPENING AND CLUSTERING BIOECONOMY SECTORS"
15th OCTOBER 2015, LATVIA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE
Bioeconomy – what’s it all about?
In order to cope with an increasing global population, rapid depletion of many resources, increasing environmental pressures and climate change, Europe needs to radically change its approach to production, consumption, processing, storage, recycling and disposal of biological resources.
State of play globally: Part of the world’s population is starving whilst elsewhere obesity is on the rise and one-third of the food produced for people is being thrown away – 1.3 billion tons per year. Europe is confronted with an unprecedented and unsustainable exploitation of its natural resources, significant and potentially irreversible changes to its climate and a continued loss in biodiversity that threaten the stability of the living systems on which it depends. This is exacerbated by a world population expected to increase by more than 30% in the next 40 years, from 7 billion in 2012 to more than 9 billion in 2050. Overcoming these complex and inter-connected challenges requires research and innovation in order to achieve rapid, concerted and sustained changes in lifestyle and resource use that cut across all levels of society and the economy.
The bioeconomy provides a useful basis for such an approach, as it encompasses the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and waste streams into value added products, such as food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. Its sectors and industries have strong innovation potential due to their use of a wide range of sciences, enabling and industrial technologies, along with local and tacit knowledge. Bioeconomy serves as a tool for rural development, energy independence, climate mitigation, regional specialisation, knowledge transfer from science to practice, innovation progress.
Latvia University of Agriculture, Latvian Ministry of Agriculture and Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Estonia have joined forces to contribute to the realization of bioeconomy in Latvia and create connections to the stakeholders in the whole Baltic Sea Region.
The Forum has been organized to explain what this bioeconomy that is expected to benefit the economy and the environment actually is – a bioeconomy that should offer solutions to many of today’s key issues, like climate change, differences in rural and urban development, increasing environmental burden, resource efficiency, food safety and availability, waste management and innovative economic activities.
The primary objectives of the Forum are as follows:
- building bridges among business and science, and among public and private sectors,
- creating networks,
- identifying interests of main stakeholders,
- mapping potential resources and embedded potential in the Baltics,
- linking bioeconomy sectors,
- facilitating integrated research and development process,
- planning of bioeconomy having regard of other policies and considering links between them.
Target groups are: civil servants, entrepreneurs, experts, scientists, students.