A cooperation hub of forest bioeconomy

Tue 20, October 2020
14:30 - 16:00 CET

We will explore the genesis and implementation of transformative roadmaps towards a circular bioeconomy, showcasing regional action, emphasising approaches and experiences in overcoming critical barriers to change. Three regional cases (visions, approaches and experiences on bioeconomy transformations) will lead to an open discussion to identify opportunities and potential synergies from strengthened interregional cooperation. Outcomes will help in improving the functioning, reach and impact of the EFI’s Bioregions Facility.


Regional presentations:

  • Basque Country (ES) by NEIKER 
  • North Rhine-Westphalia (DE) by Wald und Holz NRW
  • North Karelia (FI) by Regional Council of North Karelia

Panel debate with audience: success stories, challenges, upscaling and opportunities for cooperation.

Concluding remarks: opportunities for interregional cooperation and networking.

Interactive polling and next steps.

Inazio Martinez de Arano, Head of Mediterranean Facility, European Forest Institute, Finland.
Leire BaraƱano Orbe, General manager, Neiker, Spain.
Roby Biwer, Member of Bettembourg Municipal Council, Member of the European Committee of the Regions, Luxembourg.
Risto Poutiainen, Region Mayor, Regional Council of North Karelia, Finland.
Stefanie Wieland, Team Leader & Deputy Head of the department, Wald und Holz NRW, Germany.
Green Europe
European Forest Institute
English (EN)

Session summary

Europe needs a "biologisation" of all economic sectors to create a sustainable future. Forests, the most relevant European green infrastructure, are able to provide the needed biomass. The Bioregions Facility was established in 2020 to bring regions together to share ideas, experiences and good practices around the forest bioeconomy as an opportunity to transform key sectors through generating new materials, products and business models.

North Karelia's smart specialisation based on the forest bioeconomy and new technologies and materials is setting great expectations for 2030: becoming a region free of fossil-based and non-renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.

For North Rhine-Westphalia, wood construction, innovative wood materials and biorefineries are key elements to face its major economic transition: the replacement of coal production.

The Basque Country is introducing the forest bioeconomy into its major industrial sectors while fostering R&B networking.

Take away message

The forest bioeconomy aims at replacing non-renewable materials with wood-based products, rather than creating a new industrial sector. European regions with the will and mandate to advance towards the bioeconomy are crucial, as long-term strategies and cooperation among all stakeholders along the value chain are needed. The Bioregions Facility allows regions to jointly develop regional plans and policies, to exchange successful experiences and to implement collaborative projects.

Additional information

"To facilitate a transition towards the bioeconomy we need: sustainability in the supply of natural resources, capacity to innovate and improve knowledge and skills, access to finance and risk-taking capacity, demand for bio-based and circular products, and an engaged and supportive society."

Inazio Martinez de Arano, Head of the Mediterranean Facility of the European Forest Institute

"Of course, today, the bioeconomy cannot yet compete with the fossil-based economy and its non-renewable products, like plastics. It will take long-term investment (in innovation, in R&D), long-term strategies and cooperation among all stakeholders along the value chain to reach these results."

Roby Biwer, Member of the European Committee of the Regions

"What I see today are three regions cooperating together in order to make the forest-based circular bioeconomy one of the pillars of the European Green Deal Strategy. This means high-value products and new, quality jobs that should be the basis of sustainable development in our continent."

Roby Biwer, Member of the European Committee of the Regions