Cooperation on bioeconomy discussed among Nordic and Southern Cone experts in a FinCEAL+ seminar held in Argentina

Bioeconomy-led development: Opportunities through Nordic-Southern Cone countries cooperation, October 18th and 19th, 2018, Buenos Aires, Argentina

UniPID/FinCEAL+ LAC co-organized a Nordic-Southern Cone seminar on bioeconomy in mid-October 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The two-day event was a collaboration between FinCEAL+, the Interdisciplinary Center for Studies in Science, Technology and Innovation (CIECTI, Argentina), Lund University (Sweden), Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), supported by the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL), the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and the Ministry of Agroindustry of Argentina.

CIECTI Director Ruth Ladenheim opening the event

The event was divided into six plenary sessions in which prominent bioeconomy experts from Finland, Argentina, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile discussed about:

  • The meaning of bioeconomy for development
  • Forest bioeconomy
  • Agro-based new technologies and innovative uses of agro biomass material
  • Blue bioeconomy
  • Funding opportunities for R&I cooperation in bioeconomy; and
  • Prospective analysis on bioeconomy in the Southern Cone and the social impact of bioeconomy
The plenaries aimed to identify common starting points as well as gaps for prioritizing topics and getting a clear picture of the status of cooperation between both sets of countries and among Southern Cone countries in particular. At the same time, the presentations made in the plenaries offered different perspectives and emphasized diverse sub-themes and dimensions related to bioeconomy, while different aspects of innovation (technologies, processes, products, etc.) were a cross-cutting topic across all plenary sessions. The almost 50 speakers and approximately 250 participants represented different sectors: public authorities, researchers from universities, research centers, and public agencies, international organizations, private sector and CSO’s. The Nordic experts represented the following institutions: Åbo Akademi, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, LUKE, University of Eastern Finland, University of Lapland, Lund University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), CBIO centre at Aarhus University (Denmark), Matis (Iceland) and the Norwegian Business School.

In addition to the plenaries, parallel thematic working group sessions were organized with the aim of constituting platforms for experts from the two sub-regions to deepen the exchange started in the plenaries, to identify specific topics for concrete joint project ideas, and to connect relevant actors with the necessary expertise and interest to get involved in the projects that might emerge. The process also involved getting a more precise definition of the subthemes chosen as preliminary topics for cooperation initiatives within a medium-term time frame. The thematic working groups proved to be a fruitful platform for discussion. Experts were able to determine specific subthemes which offer considerable potential for the creation of joint projects.

Thematic group work

Under the topic of forest bioeconomy, three subthemes were chosen for follow-up discussions: 1) Bioproducts and bio-refineries as options for the integral exploitation of the biomass coming from forest plantations; 2) Non-wood forest products (NWFP) from the native forest; and 3) Forest bioenergy. Under the topic of agro-based new technologies, two subthemes were selected for further development: 1) Sustainable agricultural intensificationand 2) Small-scale agro biorefineries. Finally, under the topic of blue bioeconomy, New technologies for the sustainable use of water and the production of new bioproducts was identified as the most potential subtheme to elaborate joint projects on. CIECTI is now leading the next steps, which involve searching feasible funding sources for the thematic projects, and setting in motion theme-specific Skype meetings for the experts involved in order to determine specific contents and strategies for the preparation of the projects.

Uruguay meets Iceland

Finland meets Argentina

*Picture credit: CIECTI/Mara Sessa