Mobilising local society to discuss innovative solutions for regional challenges

Mobilising local society to discuss innovative solutions for regional challenges

Making sure that local voices are listened to when it comes to developing innovative solutions for ecosystem services is one of the major components of the SINCERE project. Each of the project’s Innovation Action case studies has identified key local and regional stakeholders with whom to consult on the various innovative mechanisms, which could potentially be implemented in the project’s eleven case studies.

These stakeholders, who include forest or land owners and managers, forest users, local authorities, entrepreneurs and forest-owner associations have been invited to form local Multi-Actor Groups (MAG) which will meet four times over the course of the project, at decisive moments in the development of the case study. The MAGs are involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of the Innovation Action through facilitated meetings in their local region, with MAG representatives subsequently invited to a project-wide meeting. This Co-Design Event hosts exchange and learning between the eleven Innovation Action Cases, project partners and European stakeholders from relevant fields, including business, policy, international associations and NGOs.

The first MAG meetings took place in the autumn of 2018, to discuss initial ideas for potential innovative mechanisms for the Innovation Action cases. A brainstorming exercise led to a short-listing of between four and ten mechanisms, which were then evaluated via a self-screening questionnaire.

Meeting outcomes show how the case studies are at very different stages of development. Common to all, however, is a high level of local and regional interest in developing innovative solutions to support the benefits the forest brings to its local communities. Furthermore, stakeholders consider it important to work together to develop ecosystem services in their region, for some, an opportunity that had not presented itself before. More details on each of the MAG meetings can be found in the news section of the SINCERE website.

Findings from the first MAG meetings and subsequent developments will be shared in a Co-Design Event, to be held on 28 – 29 January in Leuven, Belgium. A second round of MAG meetings will then take place in the regions in early 2019.