NEWS AND EVENTS
MENFRI in the EU Parliament !
On November 16th 2016, MENFRI organised its final conference "Jobs, Development, Social Inclusion and Climate Change Migration in the Mediterranean: The transformative power of the Forestry and Environmental sector" in the European Parliament in Brussels. Co chaired by MEP Fisas and MEP Gambus, the conference allowed a great discussion on the different approaches to tackle challenges like climate change migration, growth, and local development. It also successfully marked the launch of the “NODE” - Node for Opportunities, Development and Environment – which received a warm welcome.
You can discover below a summary video of the conference:
Below some pictures of the event!
MENFRI organises its final conference in the EU Parliament !
You can find the agenda of the event here
Register to the event here
If you have any question, don't hesitate to contact Elise Regairaz : firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out articles talking about MENFRI:
Read our new article " Towards Mediterranean development through innovative forestry"
From policymaking to forestry certification and business creation, Mediterranean forestry actors need effective services and information to ensure a sustainable use of forests. To fulfil this need, the EU project MENFRI is developing an innovative approach, taking into consideration all actors of the forestry sector, and taking the form of effective, replicable and scalable modules to provide capacity building to local, national and regional actors.
Read the full article here
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Our latest Newsletter's edition is out!
Click here to read the latest edition of our MENFRI Newsletter.
MENFRI in "Forêts Méditerranéennes" June edition
Following our cooridnator's presentation of MENFRI during the Mediterranean Forest Week which took place in Barcelona last June, the periodical "Forêts Méditerranéennes", which made a special edition following the international conference, published an aticle on MENFRI.
More info here : http://www.foret-mediterraneenne.org/fr/publications/revue-foret-mediterraneenne/id-4263-t-xxxvi-n-2-2015-special-numero-international-4e-semaine-forestiere-mediterraneenne-de-barcelone-
Forest certification: innovating to ensure a sustainable valorisation of Mediterranean forest products
Desertification is one of the major environmental problems faced by the Maghreb. The sustainable use of forests in these countries would help mitigate and adapt to global change. Forestry experts gathered in Barcelona by MENFRI discussed about opportunities and challenges brought by innovative solutions such as forest certification in the Mediterranean region.
Read our article following our latest experts' meeting on forestry certification ...
MENFRI at the IV Mediterranean Forest Week
Hosted in Barcelona by the Spanish authorities, the 4th edition of the Mediterranean Forest Week took place from the 17th to the 20th of March with a focus on "Improving livelihoods: the role of Mediterranean forest value chains in a green economy".
The MENFRI team was present during this week in order to strengthen exchanges and synergies with other stakeholders involved in the management of Mediterranean forests, from both side of the basin, including researchers and representatives from local communities, institutions and other relevant projects and initiatives. We also explored possible collaborations with funding institutions in order to finance potential pilot cases on the field, born from MENFRI’ platform of discussion.
MENFRI was mentioned many times during the different experts’ presentations and our coordinator, E Doblas from CREAF made a presentation on the last day, revealing our presentation video and explaining what MENFRI can achieve in terms of innovation promotion, international cooperation and the development of the bioeconomy in order to increase resilience of forested ecosystems.
European projects boosting innovation potential of Morocco
Casablanca, March 18th 2015
"The hardest thing is to get a match between offers and demands in terms of research and innovation partnership, but when our Moroccan researchers integrate European projects, exchange and cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean often results in great projects".
These words, were pronounced by Mrs Dalila Loudyi, National Contact Point of Morocco for European environmental projects within the previous European Research framework programme FP7 (2007-2013), during the Innovation Week, held in Casablanca from the 3rd to the 5thof March 2015. But Dalila was not alone to witness that international cooperation in research and innovation can be a driving factor in strengthening EU-Mediterranean relations and create growth. The 3 days event offered seminars, trainings and a brokerage dedicated session, and succeeded in gathering, each day, more than 50 participants such as researchers, entrepreneurs and representatives from public administrations, from all over Morocco (Tangier, Tétouan, Mohammedia, and Marrakech) but also from abroad, including representatives from French, Tunisian, Lebanese and British organisations. All worked together towards a local and sustainable development in different fields such as energy, forestry, and health, and on how to remove barriers to reach innovation.
Enrique Doblas, CREAF researcher and coordinator of MENFRI, one of the EC funded Research to Innovation (R2I) projects, organising the "Innovation week" explained how this idea was born. "Within our own project, we identified major problematics for the Mediterranean forestry sector: climate change impacts, barriers to entrepreneurship, gender issues, lack of public incentives, etc. And our partners from the EU and the Maghreb, working on projects related to energy, agriculture and water, also found very similar barriers. So we decided to gather in order to collaborate and we create a platform where researchers, entrepreneurs and local communities, from all over the Mediterranean, gathered, discussed and exchanged knowledge and good practices on these identified problems. In the case of MENFRI, this kind of dialogue proved itself to be helpful to make the Mediterranean forestry an innovative, sustainable, fair, economically viable, and job creating sector. The organisation of an "Innovation week", allowing an exchange of practical knowledge and tips on research and development, appeared to us as a crucial step towards a stronger and unified Mediterranean research and entrepreneurship in order to tackle common problems we are facing".
Mrs. Siham Hamidi from the Moroccan Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Professional Training agreed with this need of a strong Mediterranean research: "It is necessary that we develop our researchers' capacity to draft their own projects proposals in response to European Commission's calls for proposals," she explained. "We have much to contribute to the Mediterranean research. That is why our Ministry undertakes a mission of information among Moroccan researchers to inform them of existing opportunities such as Horizon 2020" she added.
"Strengthening EU cooperation in science, research and innovation in the Mediterranean is a way to create growth while tackling global challenges such as climate change together and act with a critical mass", said Tomas Matraia, Policy officer for "Southern European Neighbourhood and Africa" at the European Commission Directorate General Research and Innovation ."But it goes beyond that", he continued. "It is about investing in human capital, by sharing ownership and reinforcing mutual trust while building stronger relations around the Mediterranean basin for current and new generations. In this way, international cooperation in research and innovation supports also the EU external policy and promotes local and sustainable development while creating win-win opportunities. R2I projects such as MENFRI are effective tools to unite researchers, entrepreneurs and civil society and make them working for common objectives."
"MENFRI is organising a new multi-disciplinary training and capacity building activities in Morocco for November 2015 and in Tunisia in May 2016" says Doblas. "Forest certification and specific support to women living in rural areas, working in the forestry and forestry related sector will be the core themes" adds Doblas, "MENFRI is already collaborating with PEFC International (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and is exploring further cooperation with the EU Delegation in Morocco. We believe this action will pave the way for jobs creation and also support local development."
Watch our video presenting MENFRI!
Interview of Enrique Doblas: Coordinator of MENFRI and CREAF researcher
"We have to change the idea that forest is untouchable"
Translated from the orignal article : Martínez, Yaiz. "Enrique Doblas: "Hay que cambiar la idea de que el bosque es intocable." Tendencia21. Available here : http://www.tendencias21.net/Enrique-Doblas-Hay-que-cambiar-la-idea-de-que-el-bosque-es-intocable_a37948.html
The main objective of the MENFRI project, funded by the European Commission, is the interchange of forestry knowledge between the North and South Mediterranean. This exchange should improve forest conservation while using forest good and services.
Enrique Doblas, project manager and researcher at the Centre of Forest Ecology and Applied Research (CREAF), explain us in the following interview about MENFRI and much more. For example, we have to change the idea of “untouchable forests” under the current context of environmental pressure, where forests need to be actively managed in order to increase their natural resilience and resistance.
This forest management requires political and citizen support. At the same time, this support can only emerge from an environmental education showing the value of forests as sources of well being as well as of development. Management also needs knowledge and innovative ideas that, in Doblas’ opinion, are already available and potentially successful.
How emerges and which are the objectives of MENFRI?
The MENFRI project emerged thanks to the European Commission call on international cooperation “Research to Innovation” (R2I). Principal requirements of the call included a trustworthy collaboration with European Neighbourhood Countries, in this case Mediterranean, and a strong economic and industrial component looking for the application of scientific results.
Within this framework, the MENFRI’s objective is the exchange of knowledge about forest management between both shores of the Mediterranean with the aim of preserving our forests at the same time that we use their resources.
In the face of global change (climate, on fire regimes, on invasive species patterns, economic, etc.) it is needed to create an innovative forestry sector, able to combine ecosystem protection with associated benefits on wellbeing and job generation.
Is an abandonment of Mediterranean forests really happening?
Precisely, in north Mediterranean countries, a progressive land abandonment of farming, which produced no benefit at the time, have been carried out together with a gradual rural exodus.
This fact resulted in the appearance of new forests (the wooded areas of several European countries have been increased) which, in the absence of any kind of management and in the face of global change, are especially prone to fires, drought, insect outbreaks and diseases.
The Mediterranean Region is a biodiversity hotspot and one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change. In this sense, which kind of risk implies a wrong forest management strategy?
Although it is under discussion if the Mediterranean Region is more or less vulnerable to climate change, it is clear that the combination of several factors of change in the Region will greatly affect our ecosystems.
On the one hand, in the face of this environmental pressure, forests need to be managed to increase its natural resilience and resistance. The associated risks to the lack of forest management are, among other examples, fire risk increased due to dry biomass accumulation, too dense forest loss due to drought and unmanageable insect and disease outbreaks.
On the other hand, in Maghreb countries, indiscriminate logging and resource overexploitation, together with predicted temperature increases and precipitation decreases, are increasing desertification risk. In this situation, forest management that takes into account environmental and educational objectives would be highly recommended.
How the results of human activities (for example, land use change) on Mediterranean forests could be alleviated?
When we talk about land use change we refer to a combination of activities which imply very different processes, as the already mentioned cases of land abandonment and overexploitation. Therefore, each process involves different management strategies. In other words, there is no magical solution to all forest menaces.
The Mediterranean example is controverted; a management strategy thought to alleviate the effects of greenhouse gases could imply an increase of forest cover in order to decrease carbon dioxide levels. However, forests need water and forest cover increase may result in less available water resources not only for the ecosystem but also for local populations. Moreover, such dense forest could result in forest decline associated to drought due to competition for the scarce water within trees.
Therefore, to always study the situation of each ecosystem in its local context would be the best. It will match environmental, economical and social needs within the appropriate management to deal with the different pressures. Also, as far as possible, to avoid any strategy implying great environmental disturbance is recommendable.
Is a profitable use of forests possible while guarantying its protection at the same time?
The balance between conservation and use of our forests is possible and recommended. We have to change the idea of “untouchable forests” because, under the current context of global change, forests need to be actively managed in order to preserve them.
In the same line, forests should not be overexploited because it results in the loss of the raw material for associated industries or dependent populations. Forest management, even for conservation purposes, implies efforts and money but this same management could promote profitable use of renewable resources in order to obtain its own funding and support.
However, to achieve the mentioned balance is not easy at all. It is very important the collaboration of all stakeholders implied. Forest owners and entrepreneurs should look for equilibrium between short and long-term benefits based in the advice of managers and researchers. They should work together in the search of enhancing forest resilience and resistance, more than only production increase.
Finally, a very significant role is reserved for the entire society; citizens should be aware about the importance of local forest products, the higher wood quality of Mediterranean species compared to faster-growing (and cheaper) species, the price of cork, the uses of aromatic plants around us… This is the only way the value of conservation will be enhanced and policy makers will see the need of being implied in paving the way to forestry innovation.
Today, do you think there is a political will to support balanced initiatives between the conservation and use of forests?
From my point of view, political will depends only and exclusively on population goodwill. No policy maker will support policies without social support, even if these policies involve proven economic or environmental benefits (especially in the long-term). That’s why I would like to reaffirm the importance of environmental education; learning about the value of our forests as a resource of wellbeing and also development.
Of course, once everybody understands Mediterranean forests capacity to provide entertainment, health and, considering the current situation, jobs, I think that political goodwill should be guaranteed. In fact, one of the objectives and the greater challenge of MENFRI is to inform, educate and engage European policy-makers into Mediterranean forestry innovation.
Can we hope for a change of direction towards sustainability for Mediterranean forest management?
Yes we can, and it should not stay just “beautiful words” because the challenge is a great one. There are proof and examples showing that the change is possible. In European Mediterranean, responsible rural tourism, for example, shows the potential benefit of forests while promoting its conservation.
In the south, small women associations are starting to commercialise non wood products obtaining benefit, wellbeing and, the most important, valuing forests as they have never done before. However, the already mentioned collaborative effort is needed to transform these isolated examples in a course change; effort especially supported by a social demand of forest products obtained by methodologies that favour conservation.
Which measures and initiatives have been already started by MENFRI?
During its first year, the project has attempted to establish the basis of the “to do” list. We gathered a group of experts including members of the European parliament, businessmen and managers of both sides of the Mediterranean, forest owners representatives, researchers from the north and the south of the Basin and social workers in contact with local populations depending on forest resources.
Among the several conversations and discussions developed during these debates, three ideas strongly prevail; valorisation, education and governmental support at higher scales.
To support the valorisation of Mediterranean forest products, MENFRI has begun to negotiate about the possibility of creating an appropriate certification with the responsible entities. In order to increase education, different courses have been planned and will be carry out; about forest management, from traditional to using geographical information systems, about business creation and the look for funding, and about the peculiarities associated to submitting European projects.
Finally, as already mentioned, political implication is being achieved thanks to the debates, but also by reports, video products, guides and, principally, by a future event in the European Parliament as the crown jewel of the project.
However, the main product of MENFRI is to develop a network to facilitate the interconnection among all the actors implied in forestry, from scientists to entrepreneurs, by way of managers, owners, NGOs…
This virtual tool is already under construction and aims to help satisfying the needs of each one through the needs of the others. For example, ideally, a forest owner interested in the long term efficiency of his forest and how to pay for it will find the research centre offering the requested services and the investors in the search for an innovative project.
What are the roles of scientific knowledge and the innovative methods of forest management in the project development?
In fact, knowledge plays a fundamental role. Although it is important to clarify that the project does not aim to generate new research nor methodology but to enhance its use by making it available to the public.
A lot of information and highly innovative ideas potentially successful are already available. However, as already pointed out, a change of course is needed where education and collaboration will be basic.
Innovative research and management should be put into practice in order to be tested, owners and companies need incentives in order to adopt new practices and society and their governments should support these initiatives in order to provide them with the necessary strength.
MENFRI at the BioEconomy Dialogue
MENFRI's coordinator, Enrique Doblas, attended the Bioeconomy Forum 2014 and presented the results from our 2nd SAG meeting which took place in Bologna in November. Read more here.
• The simplistic idea of "untouchable forests" should be substituted for a more realistic approach.
• Private forest owners and local communities are crucial actors that should be empowered and supported.
• Demand related to new applications must be coordinated with the traditional demands and limited to assure sustainability.quilibrium, through a mutual exchange of knowledge.
The simplistic idea of "untouchable forests" should be substituted for a more realistic approach, implying the development of communities depending of forest exploitation by paying the real value of the products they gather. In the current situation of global change, forests are going to be exploited (or degraded by environmental pressure), we must assure that we contribute to the sustainable management of forest resources and, in this way, to increasing forest resistance to global change factors as drought, fires or insect outbreaks.
Private forest owners and local communities are crucial actors that should be empowered and supported. It is necessary to "bring the fabrics into the forest": in other words, the complete value chain should be as near as possible to the source of raw materials in order to contribute to the enrichment and development of gathering communities. Rural tourism can be the perfect example of this.
Demand related to new applications in the field of bioeconomy, especially bioenergy, must be coordinated with the traditional demands and limited to assure sustainability.
Download the Bioeconomy Forum Dialogue report on MENFRI here
MENFRI 's 2nd SAG meeting in Bologna!
Mediterranean forest to re-launch jobs’ creation, sustainable development and protect eco-systems
“In European Mediterranean countries, land abandonment has resulted in unmanaged forests, leading to fire, pests and landslide, posing also life risks to population. In the southern part of the Mediterranean basin, forest use intensification boosts desertification. Overall, the Mediterranean is suffering from land use change and climate change with dangerous consequences for our communities and environment” said Enrique Doblas, MENFRI’s project manager and CREAF researcher.
“Managed forests are protected forests that can produce enrichment”.
The forestry experts that gathered in Bologna last November are convinced that this is the equation that can change the game and see also benefits for local communities: “Local actors have to see their forests as a source of development” underlined Christophe Besacier, specialist of Mediterranean forests at FAO. “The closer the value chain stays to the source of raw material, the more easily local populations will identify forests as a source of enrichment, jobs and quality products” he concluded.
“Local populations are the main threat to Moroccan forests, if not sensitised and involved in the entire forests value chain from the beginning. We believe that local populations should be empowered to manage the forests in a sustainable way, enjoying the benefits of the economic growth in an equitable way”. Said Rahhal Boulogoute, Moroccan businessman and cork oak forest operator.
“Working for a Mediterranean forest certification brand”.
In the northern part of the Mediterranean, forest leading players advocate that conservation and management are key concepts to sustainable use of forest resources. They also welcome the idea of a “Mediterranean brand” which could allow products to enter a new type of market, where consumers would be able to clearly identify regional, quality and sustainable products, with an environmental and more equitable added value.
MENFRI is working with the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification International (PEFC), world's largest forest certification system, to explore the possibility of a “Mediterranean forest” brand . “Regional certification is a long-term process”, said Doblas, “but MENFRI is well placed to act as link between PEFC and Maghreb countries to begin with national certification schemes, exchange knowledge, provide training on the subject, and facilitate several initial pilot cases”.
“At the end”, he concluded, “our work is to provide innovative solutions from research to markets engaging public and private actors, and we are going in the right direction”.
About the 2nd Stakeholders Advisory Group meeting in Bologna on November 17th 2014:
Aside from the MENFRI team, which is composed by researchers on forestry and social development, forest owners, business development and policy consulting agencies from Europe and the Maghreb, this meeting gathered forestry and cooperation experts from both northern and southern countries including: Rahhal Boulgoute (cork production, Morocco), Abdelhamid Khaldi (forest manager at INRGREF, Tunisia), Teresa Renzi (NGO on Beekeeping, Italy), Francesco Marmo (Italian Sustainable Tourism), Jordi Gené (INCAFUST, Spain), Jordi Vayreda (CREAF, Spain), Danilo Monarca (University of Tuscia, Italy), Luigi Portoghesi (University of Tuscia), Xavier Pons (Profesor at the UAB and researcher at CREAF), Tomas Matraia (European Commission), Christophe Besacier (FAO).