CEE2ACT project was launched to support 10 CEE countries in developing circular bioeconomy strategies
14 September 2022
On the 13th and 14th of September 2022 we were invited to the CEE2ACT project launch press conference in Budapest, where representatives of 17 European organisations from 17 countries gathered for the kick-off meeting of the CEE2ACT project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme.
The press conference’s objective was to introduce the CEE2ACT project to the bioeconomy stakeholders and policymakers in Hungary as well as to the media. The meeting also aimed to foster collaboration between public and private sector actors, who already actively implement bioeconomy projects, strategies and action plans, and the CEE2ACT consortium to avoid duplication of efforts and build on existing initiatives. The conference included the presence of the Circular Bioeconomy actors, such as a representative of the Bay Zoltan Research Centre, member of the CEE2ACT Advisory Board, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, OTP Bank and various representatives of the initiative Circular Hungary.
During the meeting, Dániel Ganszky, representing Geonardo Environmental Technologies, CEE2ACT project coordinator, presented an overview of the CEE2ACT project, followed by a presentation of Ms. Laura Vārpiņa, Policy Officer at DG Research & Innovation on the European Bioeconomy Strategy Progress Report released on 9th of June 2022. This report reflects on the increased importance of the bioeconomy in the new political environment, framed by the European Green Deal. Ms. Katalin Kalai, talked about the Bay Zoltan Research Centre’s bioeconomy-related activities and projects and about the institution’s role in the foundation of the Hungarian Bioeconomy Cluster. Members of the audience discussed potential cooperation with the CEE2ACT project and at the end of the meeting, the audience interacted with the CEE2ACT consortium members.
The European Green Deal has set Europe on its path to being the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and achieving a green transition that must be just, fair and inclusive. One of the seven core pathways to deliver climate neutrality is the bioeconomy. The 2018 updated EU bioeconomy strategy has highlighted the relevance of developing national bioeconomy strategies and action plans to deploy a sustainable and circular bioeconomy across Europe considering economic, social and environmental aspects. To date, there are still Member States, including many from Central and Eastern Europe that do not have a national bioeconomy strategy and action plan despite their high biomass resource base and new bioeconomy potential, although there are relevant regional initiatives to develop bioeconomy strategies.
The CEE2ACT project will support Member States to develop strategies and action plans by improving knowledge and raising awareness of a sustainable, circular bioeconomy, its challenges and opportunities, as well as best practices tested elsewhere.
In the case of Slovenia, there is a policy in place called the Development Strategy of Slovenia 2030, where the need to facilitate transition to a circular economy is mentioned, but the term “bioeconomy” is not explicitly defined. However, Slovenia has ambitious and wide-ranging green goals. The Roadmap towards a Circular Economy outlines the strategy for a circular (bio)economy on three dimensions in the so-called “Circular Triangle”: (1) Circular Economy (business models), (2) Circular Change (government policies) and (3) Circular Culture (among citizens). Besides, the upgraded Smart Specialisation Strategy (S5) was submitted to the European Commission in March 2022, being recognized as a starting point for focusing investments in areas where Slovenia has the knowledge, capacity and innovation potential for positioning in the global markets.
The objective of CEE2ACT is to empower countries in Central Eastern Europe (Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia,) and beyond (Greece, Republic of Serbia) to develop circular bioeconomy strategies and action plans, through knowledge transfer and innovative governance models, to achieve better-informed decision-making processes, societal engagement, and innovation, building on the practice of experienced countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden). Knowledge transfer and inspiration in creative formats that address the motivations, needs and knowledge gaps of each CEE2ACT target country will be realized through the CEE2ACT National Bioeconomy Hubs.
A bottom-up approach will be applied throughout the project activities, tackling specific knowledge gaps and shortcomings of the top-down conventional approach, building closer interconnections between actors across public institutions, private sector, industry, energy, SMEs, feedstock providers (e.g., waste, side streams, farmers, foresters, fishermen), academia and research, NGOs, and CSOs in the target countries.
To achieve this, a baseline assessment will be carried out, and stakeholder engagement activities will be implemented ensuring the active participation of all relevant stakeholders. Digital solutions for sustainable governance will be created, supporting the exchange of best practices on technology transfer, and building the capacities of the stakeholders to develop bottom-up bioeconomy strategies. The findings will be used and disseminated through practical tools, guidelines, and policy recommendations to support beneficiary countries to develop flexible and inclusive bioeconomy strategies and action plans, boosting societal engagement in the countries’ transition toward a circular bioeconomy.
Geographical scope: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
Overall budget and funding source: EUR 3.9 million, HORIZON-CL6-2021-Governance-01-10 Horizon Europe Coordination and Support Action project. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and innovation programme under grant agreement N°101060280.
Duration: 36 months (1 September 2022 – 30 September 2025)
Coordinator: María Beatriz Rosell, Senior Project Manager, Geonardo Environmental Technologies Ltd., Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Media & Communications: Nathalie Bargues, Project Manager, Greenovate!Europe, Email: email@example.com
Upcoming website: www.cee2act.eu