Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


MENFRI Report Summary

Project ID: 609542
Funded under: FP7-INCO
Country: Spain

Final Report Summary - MENFRI (Mediterranean Network of Forestry Research and Innovation (MENFRI))

Executive Summary:
Climate change is affecting the entire Mediterranean Basin but different land use changes result in different consequences all over the Region. In European countries, land abandonment results in new but not managed forests, prone to fire and infestation due to increasing temperatures and drought. Meanwhile, in North Africa, forest intensification combined to a hotter and dryer climate provokes desertification.
From the MENFRI project we persevered for a common solution to both problems: to promote forest conservation through forest use. Moreover, this objective could be achieved only by sharing knowledge between north and south Mediterranean. Traditional uses of forests from North African countries are sources of eco-innovation, which could promote the management of European new forests. Meanwhile, land use practices from south European countries could decrease forest intensification in the Maghreb for a more sustainable forest use.
MENFRI aimed to set the basis for this innovative Mediterranean forest management by three principal actions:
First, by gathering experts in business development, forest researchers and managers, policy makers and forest users (from owners to population) in order to understand the principal problems in the sector and to look for practical solutions.
Second, by provoking the interchange of knowledge from both sides of the Mediterranean through formative courses on business creation, SIG techniques, forest certification, associational management and EU projects.
And third, by the creation of a Mediterranean Network of Forest Research & Innovation, where all kind of forestry related actors could find each other to create innovative opportunities for the entire Region.
MENFRI, as a consortium representing all these stakeholders (CREAF-science, Aliénor.EU-politics, INRGREF-management, WG-business, CFC-owners, UH2MC-populations), has became the first step in the consolidation of Mediterranean forest management as a sustainable, eco-innovative and job creating business.

Project Context and Objectives:
The Mediterranean Region will become one of the most vulnerable areas in Europe to global change. Forested areas in the Mediterranean Basin show great sensitivity to several drivers of change (climate change, land use change, wildfires, pests and erosion, among others) and their interaction. Principally, climate in the region shows great sensitivity to global atmospheric changes due to its transitional nature between arid and humid regions. Connections between extreme climate events and a long history of land use changes have been shown to result in more frequent and intense fires, forest disease expansion and land degradation among other impacts. Also, socioeconomic assumptions have an effect on land use, making the Mediterranean Basin a complex ground of interaction among policies, societies and economic backgrounds. While in European Mediterranean countries land abandonment is promoting new unmanaged forest cover, increasing fire and pest risks, in the south of the basin forest intensification results in desertification as the principal threat.
In this context, assuming the impact that global change will have on forest ecosystems and the goods (considering wood and non-timber products and tourism related benefits) and services (principally biodiversity, regulation of water resources and control of carbon flow and reserves) they provide in different parts of the Mediterranean basin poses an enormous societal challenge. Global change is a matter of concern that has extended to all social scales, even in the face of the economic crisis we are dealing with. In fact, the defence of regional natural resources should be part of the aims in the agenda to escape from financial dependency to sustainable development. As stated by the Horizon 2020 societal challenges (in particular Ch5: Climate action, resource efficiency), forest management strategies must be directed to promoting mitigation of the effects of global change (especially keeping global warming below 2 °C and enabling society to adapt to environmental and climate change), and to guaranteeing the sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services in order to achieve a resource efficient, low-carbon economy. The project tackled such societal challenges by helping to bridge the gap between research and the market. On the one hand, forest ecological research focuses in understanding and predicting the impacts of global change in our forests but lacks the means to put solutions into practice. On the other hand, Mediterranean forest owners and SMS related to forestry need to be integrated in the conservation of forest services in order to revitalize the sector. Forest managers do not have the tools to face these threats, scientific information is fragmented and not materialized in clear resources, and financial resources for the sector are scarce. In addition, European policy makers, who play the important role of regulating many aspects related to forestry, are in deep need of scientific information in order to design a comprehensive and coherent European forestry policy. This project will thus bring together actors from enterprises, civil society, policy makers and research to work jointly on the development of the Mediterranean forestry sector.
Several surveys of the forestry sector in Europe have been performed, but results are controversial when comparing Mediterranean with other European countries, moreover considering how global change would alter the current situation. In the southern rim of the Mediterranean, the forestry sector is not as developed as it is in most European countries. Although ecological and historical reasons had been proposed for this (less extensive forests, slow growing species and conditions, and a traditional use of wood as direct source of energy, among others), new ideas should overcome these restrictions as new goods and services (for example the valorisation of ecotourism or non-timber products as apiculture or medicinal plants) and better environmental ways of forest resources exploitation. We posit that while geographical information technologies from the north of the Basin could help stopping deforestation in the south, traditional knowledge from the south may help decreasing land abandonment in the north. Following the Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union, we should launch European innovation partnerships to accelerate research, development and market deployment of innovations to tackle major societal challenges. On the one hand, local owners from the south could learn from northern forestry associations to manage in a landscape scale and therefore combine larger benefits with regional conservation. On the other hand, alternative forest goods may convince north forests’ owners to manage (that also means take care of) abandoned forests in order to obtain economic benefit.
In such context, the knowledge of the main technologies and techniques available and the interconnection between forestry research and business in both sides of the Mediterranean are two of the best ways to increase efficiency under the available budget. Working towards the development of a Common Knowledge and Innovation Space is in fact highlighted as one of the priorities of cooperation between European (EU) and European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries. Moreover, innovation in the development of new goods or services is a priority for economic development. Forestry companies from the north and the south of the Mediterranean Region need this kind of support to strength their business leadership in innovation. There is a call for better understanding, mapping and coordinating these various forestry research and business dynamics in order to create the right knowledge base and connections for further actions in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

The Mediterranean Network of Forestry Research and Innovation (MENFRI) became a dialogue and action platform in forestry, encouraging scientific and business collaboration along the Mediterranean countries. The main goal of the project was therefore to create a favourable environment for the development of an organized, innovative and job creating business sector in this region while facing climate change. To reach this principal aim MENFRI was based in two main guidelines adapted from the Horizon 2020 societal challenge “Supply of raw materials; Resource Efficiency and Climate Action”, which are: First, to provide options for effective governance that takes better account of the forest ecosystem processes and their feedback with human activities and well-being. And second, to favour the creation of new environmentally concerned forestry companies and to enable already existing ones to capitalise on the opportunities for eco-innovations; that is to improve economic and environmental performance across the entire economy and leading to forestry technologies, consumption and production patterns that are environmentally better and more-cost-efficient for both the private and public sectors. Principal objectives of the project were the following:
A) To evaluate the available resources on the analysis of the spatial distribution of forest goods (wood, non-timber products and tourism related benefits) and services (biodiversity, regulation of water resources and control of carbon flow and reserves) in the Mediterranean, with the goal of providing this information to the forestry sector as well as showing potential bottlenecks in providing ecologic and economic benefits related to cooperation and knowledge transfer.
B) To compile the different forest management traditional strategies and actions in the face of global change throughout the participant ENP countries (as potential example of the south Mediterranean) for their effective use and conservation as possible eco-innovations, with the goal of providing this information to the forestry sector as well as showing potential bottlenecks in providing ecologic and economic benefits related to cooperation and knowledge transfer.
C) To obtain an overview of the current situation of the forestry sector in the Mediterranean Region by assembling an advisory group of experts with the goal of assessing the forestry sector organization and development in two EU and two ENP representative Mediterranean countries.
D) Once objective A, B and C were achieved, to establish a network of forestry related research centres, cooperatives, public-private partnerships and SMEs (understanding network as an online connecting tool in order to share information and allow professionals to build up their circle of prospective business partners and promoting themselves), based in the initiatives of eco-innovation, business-friendly environments and market replication, in order to reinforce the forestry sector and integrate it in the conservation of forest goods and services and communicate about the initiatives and progresses at all levels (European, regional, and local).
E) To promote cross-border Mediterranean cooperation through training and sharing of knowledge. EU countries were expected to provide landscape-mapping techniques for the conservation of forests and experience in forestry related business development while Mediterranean ENP countries could offer traditional knowledge on local strategies to solve direct problems and threats (especially for the decrease of desertification processes) and local development in order to avoid land abandonment.
F) To provide indicators and policies to monitor progress towards forestry innovation based in the experience. Indeed, it is important that policy makers are aware of the problems, progresses and solutions available for the sector in order to shape an adequate policy.

Project Results:
* WP2
- Spatial Resources Assessment (SRA). The following information was compiled for the elaboration of the SRA: Availability of information (about national forest inventories and vegetation maps, principally, but also about other related and useful information as national maps on land use change, topography, soils and erosion, climate, etc. Also, information or maps at more local scales but considered as useful or representative) in European and Maghreb Mediterranean countries (those from the participating Partners, in this case Spain, Morocco and Tunisia); open use information of international scope; principal needs, gaps in knowledge and potential solutions; use of geographical information in forest research and management.
- Spatial Analysis Gaps in Knowledge (SAGK). The information gathered for the SRA was analysed in order to extract the principal unsatisfied needs of the sector and areas needing spatial information and resources. The study was carried out considering that two very important points are the availability of the information and to evaluate the importance of such information for forestry studies in the Mediterranean. Also, any information about local needs, problems and potential solutions in relation to the geographical information of each country were included.
- Available Spatial Information (ASI) toolkit release. The toolkit includes both, the compilation of information about national forest inventories and vegetation maps, principally, but also about other related and useful information as national maps on land use change, topography, soils and erosion, climate, etc. and, at the end of the document, the generated conclusion of the analysis to extract the principal unsatisfied needs of the sector and areas needing spatial information and resources. In the end, the toolkit offers useful facts, outline the needs and problems and, most of all, suggest potential solutions to support and improve the availability of Geographic Information Systems for the forestry sector in the Mediterranean Region.
* WP3
- Traditional Management Assessment (TMA). In order to follow specially one of the objectives of the assessment, to consider the quality and value of the information providing mutual benefit and reciprocity between European and Maghreb countries, it was decided (during the first Steering Committee meeting) to change the idea of traditional to alternative management (non wood products, other uses of wood, etc), also in the search of eco-innovation. Since a lot of information is available but it is not applied, the MENFRI assessment should focus on lessons learned, from interesting success cases to the problems related to previous mistakes. This new point of view was very well received by the project officer, which also considered imperative to provide not only with the needs but also with solutions and recommendations (to policy, technology and communication). Due to practical considerations and time restrictions, it was finally decided to describe only one success story per involved partner country (Spain, Morocco and Tunisia in the name of CREAF, UH2 and INRGRF) but deeply.
- Traditional Management Gaps in Knowledge (TMGK). The first assessment described only one success story per involved partner country. However, for the TMGK more success stories were analysed. These stories were used to extract the principal guidelines and show principal bottlenecks to forestry innovation in the Mediterranean Region by comparative analysis.
- Traditional Management Compilation (TMC) toolkit release. The toolkit included more success stories (5 from Spain, 3 from Italy, adding also the work of WG, 7 from Morocco and 6 from Tunisia) but much more briefly described. The comparative analysis of these stories performed in the TMGK is included at the end of the document. In the end, the toolkit offers useful facts, outline the needs and problems and, most of all, to suggest potential solutions supporting innovation in the Mediterranean Region forestry sector.
* WP4
- Stakeholder Advisory Group creation. Task 4.1 was the creation of a Stakeholders’ Advisory Group (SAG), formed by specialists coming from scientific, innovation & development, and government institutions of the participant countries (ideally with an equal number of members coming from north and south Mediterranean) concerned by the effects of global change on Mediterranean forests. The WG is the leader group, in charge of the coordination of the different activities while all groups help by locating experts from different areas and countries, especially CFC in the business sector, CREAF in the research area, UH2MC and INGREF in the south (all representatives) and AliénorEU in the political area. It was decided to prepare a template on the Guidelines for the SAG meetings in order to decide the experts that would be part of the SAG and invite them. After that, each partner prepared a preliminary List of suggested experts, including a file for each potential expert explaining why these people should be included to the SAG. Finally, it was decided to consider an open list of SAG, meaning that the list of experts could be different for each of the three planned meetings in order to increase the number of SAG members (and therefore of expert imputs). After the SAG creation, a questionnaire was sent to each nominated member in order to collect all inputs/contributions on the basis of the guidelines arranged and before the SAG meeting organisation.
- First SAG meeting.
Attendees: MENFRI members - E Doblas, E Regairaz, G Rossi, E Melotti, R Nafaa, Z Nasr, J Rovira. SAG members - Y Saadani (General Directory of Forests/IRNGREF), M Bouhaloua, Z Ahlafi (Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II), M Benzyane (BETAF Consulting), G Franco (European Parliament), D Monarca (Università della Tuscia), D Loudyi (UH2MC), R Rodríguez (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas/former manager of the MoCo), N Luigi (Silva Mediterranea/PRO Silva France). UH2MC guests - M Ouadrim, A Essami, A Chaouki, A Sajid (UH2MC), L Wahdani, A Hadiya (PhD students UH2MC).
The opening remarks of R Nafaa were followed by a MENFRI brief presentation and overview of the Agenda by E Doblas and a series of presentations about the situation of the forest sector in Morroco (The Moroccan forestry: a rich and diversified resource by Z Ahlafi, Strategies and politics related to the development of forests by M Bouhaloua, Valorisation of forest products, potentiality and perspectives by M Benzyane and Women and forests, social and economic links by R Nafaa) and about European forest management (Mediterranean forestry from Europe by G Franco and Renewable energy sources: perspectives for the agroforestry sector in the Mediterranean countries by D Monarca)
E Doblas introduced the Guidelines for discussions and, after that, began the different rounds of debate: Locating the problems, presided by Y Saadai, emphasized the need of a Mediterranean forest economical valorisation, a common strategy and more dissemination from local population to policy makers and education; Research and innovation, presided by M Benzyane, highlighted the value of Mediterranean quality products and ecosystem level case studies; finally, in Politics and economy and potential solutions, presided by M Benzyane, it was suggested to promote a “Mediterranean brand” and the role of MENFRI was clarified, which includes to review and to compile previous work.
Other ideas were developed in the follow-up meeting on 27th May, during the day trip to Marrakech, courtesy of UH2MC.
- Second SAG meeting.
Attendees: MENFRI members - E Doblas, J Vayreda, E Regairaz, G Rossi, E Melotti, I Vicini, R Nafaa, Z Nasr, J Rovira. SAG members – C Besacier (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations-FAO), A Khaldi (INRGREF), R Boulgoute (Groupe Boulgoute), J Gené (Institut Català de la Fusta), D Monarca (Università della Tuscia), X Pons (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona /CREAF). Guests - T Matraia (European Comission), T Renzi (Federazione Apicoltori del Mediterraneo), F Marmo (Associazione Italiana Turismo Responsabile), L Portoghesi (Università della Tuscia), L Vezzalini (Associazione Nazionale Città del Castagno).
The opening remarks of I Vicini were followed by a MENFRI brief presentation and overview of the Agenda and the ideas proposed in the last MENFRI-SAG meeting by E Doblas and three important presentations: Business opportunities and initiatives in the Regional dimension by T Matraia, Geographical Information Science & Technology for today forestry by X Pons, and Workshop on forest management and planning in Maghreb countries by A Khaldi.
E Doblas introduced the Guidelines for discussions and, after that, began the different rounds of debate, all presided by E Doblas and T Matraia: Scales of action, emphasized the need of pilot sites to test management options through the entire value chain, the problem of immigration and refugees, and the potential solution by public-private management; Conservation while exploitation, highlighted the need of investment in forest services and the potential of bring fabrics into forests; finally, in The Mediterranean network of forestry R2I concept and other Solutions based on MENFRI potential, it was suggested to go from initiative to action and increase endorsement by local communities and decision makers by humane communication.
Other ideas were developed in the previous meeting on 16th November, during the visit to the EIMA fair, courtesy of WG.
It should be mentioned the official inclusion of the SAG meeting in the BioEconomy Dialogues initiative, which implied the addition of the meeting principal conclusions in the BioEconomy Forum (Barcelona; 27-29 November, 2014).
- Third SAG meeting.
Attendees: MENFRI members - Enrique Doblas (CREAF, Spain) , Abdelhamid Khaldi, Zouhair Nasr (Institut National de Recherches en Genie Rural, Eaux et Forets, Tunisia), Elena Melotti, Gianluca Rossi (Warrant Group, Italy), Rachida Nafaa (Université Hassan II, Morocco via videoconference), Elise Regairaz (AliénorEU, Belgium), Josep Mª Tusell (Consorci Forestal de Catalunya, Spain). SAG members – Juan Luís Abian (Centre de la Propietat Forestal, Spain), José Antonio Bonet, David Solano (Centre Tecnològic Forestal de Catalunya, Spain), Antonio Brunori, Sarah Price (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification-PEFC), Sassi Dey (Ministère de l’Agriculture, des ressources hydrauliques et de la pêche, Tunisia), Glòria Domínguez (Agència de Desenvolupament Local de Solsona i Cardona, Spain), Stéphanie Druguet (EU Delegation in Morocco), Inazio Martínez (Mediterranean Office of the European Forest Institute-EFIMED). Guests - Tomas Matraia (European Comission-EC via videoconference).
The meeting began with the opening remarks of E Doblas and I Martínez. After that, E Doblas made an introduction to MENFRI from theory to practice. During Development opportunities and initiatives, S Druguet introduced the EU support program to forestry policy in Morocco. T Matraia stimulates the participants to integrate common elements through the MENFRI values (knowledge, capacity, policy) into a network aimed at supporting entrepreneurship and at empowering women. S Price made a presentation about Forest certification in the regional dimension. Finally, E Doblas introduced the Guidelines for discussions and explained the Objectives for Morocco, Tunisia and beyond with T Matraia.
The forestry sector as an engine for development was discussed by E Doblas, R Nafaa, S Price, A Brunori, S Druguet, A Khaldi, S Day, Z Nasr and D Solano. The principal conclusion was that Social innovation in forest certification is an empty niche to be occupied by MENFRI.
Gender issues and its role in Mediterranean forestry was discussed by E Doblas, R Nafaa, A Khaldi, S Druguet, S Price, D Solano, JA Bonet. MENFRI should contact and work with local organizations for the training node.
The training node of forest management, certification and equality was discussed by E Doblas, JL Abian, G Domínguez, S Druguet, S Price. MENFRI should actively work in networking before the event to assure participation.
- Mediterranean Forestry Assessment (MFA). One of the project objectives is to obtain a realistic overview, identify concrete opportunities and potential bottlenecks, of the current situation of the forestry sector in the Mediterranean Region by assembling an advisory group of experts. This Stakeholders Advisory Group was in charge of the drafting, together with the MENFRI Steering Committee, of the Mediterranean Forestry Assessment (MFA), a report for the members of the consortium on the forestry sector organization and development throughout Mediterranean EU and Partner countries. The assessment was composed of:
The process and the compiled CVs of the candidates proposed to be members of the SAG by the different members of the MENFRI consortium plus a short description of the lately incorporated experts to the SAG.
The questionnaires prepared by WG and CREAF in order to compile information about the forestry sector organization and development throughout the Mediterranean, which were filled by most of the SAG members.
The three SAG meetings minutes, which is the most important part because it contains the principal needs and problems of the sector while a series of ideas and suggestions in order to solve the principal barriers to innovation.
- Forestry in the Mediterranean (FM) guide release. The MFA was the base of the Forestry in the Mediterranean guide, which includes the analysis of the compiled information in order to offer guidelines and show principal bottlenecks to forestry innovation in the Mediterranean Region with the aim to offer useful facts, outline the needs and problems and, most of all, suggest potential solutions to support and improve the forestry sector in the Mediterranean Region.
- Mediterranean Network of Forestry R2I (MNF-R2I) launch. It is a matchmaking tool, where people can find each other by coupling needs and offers, although we are talking about the creation of business related to the forestry sector. Also, in order to take advantage of the potential hub of actors interested in the subject, it could serve as a knowledge repository, agenda of events and trainings and link to other similar sites. The website has an appealing design, is easy to navigate and web-responsive. In order to assure maintenance of the site, it is associated to the NODE, Node for Opportunities, Development and Environment, the independent platform born thanks to the MENFRI project. The mock-up was finished at mid May 2016. The final online version was presented in mid-November 2016, during the final conference of the project at the European Parliament.
- Forestry Innovation in South Mediterranean (FM). One of the objectives of the program and therefore of the MENFRI project is the improved coordination and awareness between related projects and initiatives, making better use of existing knowledge and resources. During the Innovation Week, R2I projects joined forces together and with other Mediterranean initiatives in order to attract the focus on the great innovation potential of the Region. There was suggested to present a series of recommendations to support innovation in Maghreb countries. Later, during the R2I Policy Dialogue, coordinators of all the different INCO R2I of the Mediterranean and an EIT, organized a common European policy strategy supporting innovation, which was presented in the FM. Later, previous suggestions were then merged with the Stakeholders Advisory Group expertise and suggestions about innovation in Southern Mediterranean. Finally, the brokerage event hold in Tunisia was an excellent platform to know some of the stakeholders and actors related to forestry innovation in South Mediterranean. Their principal suggestions and contacts were provided at the end of the FM. In the end, the aim was to offer useful facts, outline the needs and problems and, most of all, suggest potential solutions to support and improve the forestry sector in the Mediterranean Region.
* WP5
- Visit to the Consorci Forestal de Catalunya (CFC) in Spain. As an example of good practices (how forest owners can associate and create their own business platform). The trip was carried out on Tuesday 23th June 2015 and lasted no longer than 8h. It began with a visit to Pinus radiata stands (Guilleries, Santa Coloma de Farners) where the management of the stand, private forests, private management and the role of CFC were explained. After that, the visit stopped in a Quercus ilex and a Q. suber stand (Montnegre, Sant Celoni) and experts explained their management, state management, the Centre de la Propietat Forestal (Generalitat de Catalunya) and the Associació de Propietaris del Montnegre Corredor. The trip finalized in Quercus suber stands (Guilleries, Arbúcies) to talk about cork production, diseases and pests control.
- Course on the available spatial resources. Compiled by WP2 was held in the CREAF installations (Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain). The course was carried out during 2 days (8h per day for a total of 16h). Entitled “SIG aplicat a la gestió forestall”, the technical course was held at Bellaterra, 25-26 June 2015. It included lessons on the use of cellular and tablet GPS with forestry applications and how to download and upload geographic information and forestry sampling using Orux maps, Osmand+, Google earth, Google maps and QGIS, both with practice training in the field. Forestry applications of LiDAR were explained, followed by an introduction to the use of several modules of Open Foris. It also include field training, where MOTIS and other interesting Apps were explained.
The course was partially financed by the Catalonian government within the program “Pla Annual 2015 de Transferència Tecnològica”.
- Course on the traditional management techniques. Compiled by WP3 and held in Morocco, it was transformed into a workshop on Forestry Innovation. The workshop was carried out during 3 days (5h per day for a total of 15h). The SIFD (Semaine de la Innovation Forestière et le Développement) resulted in a series of strategic and valuable events including effective workshops on national certification system (in collaboration with PEFC), women empowerment through forestry machinery (with DAFNE, University of Tuscia’s Department of Agriculture, Forests, Nature and Energy), youth integration in the forestry sector to achieve socio-economic empowerment and human development (with SocialForest). The SIFD gathered relevant representatives from local and regional administrations and cooperatives, academics, entrepreneurs, and international organizations in and from Morocco. Forestry sector needs were pointed out and discussed during the workshops, as the difficulties in accessing to education and specific trainings, the potential of a social and equity support certification, the barriers to private-public partnerships, the advantages of implying local populations in regional development, the need for innovation in the available geographical information systems, the lack of applied forestry technologies, an university network, political integration, etc.
- Open course on business creation, implementation and innovation. To all interested local and regional participants, was held in Morocco. The course was carried out during 1 day (8h). The seminar bring together researchers, representatives of research & technology organizations, SMEs, start-ups, technology transfer offices and other stakeholders of the EUROMED innovation ecosystem, aiming to: Facilitate the knowledge, innovation and technology transfer from academia to business; Support the commercialization of research results; Offer the beneficiaries the opportunity to build better skills on exploitation of research results emphasizing to the soft side of innovation and the role of human capital in TT activities, from research to industry; Develop and deepen awareness and usage of commercialization instruments for research organizations, start-ups and SMEs, and innovation agencies to avoid pitfalls.
- Open course on the COSME and Horizon 2020. To all interested local and regional participants, was held in Morocco. The course was carried out during 1 day (8h). The overall objective of the training day was to give an overview of the Horizon 2020 EU programme (how it works, the participations rules, project life cycle etc.) with a focus on the possibilities available for the Mediterranean Partner Countries. Target groups that were present are public and private research institutions (Universities, Research Centres, Scientific Parks etc.) and industries (Large companies and SMEs).
- Open course on Horizon 2020. To all interested local and regional participants, was held in Tunisia. The course was carried out during 3 days (13h).The overall objective of the training days was to give an overview of the Horizon 2020 EU programme (how it works, the participations rules, project life cycle etc.) with a focus on the possibilities available for the Mediterranean Partner Countries. Target groups that were present are public and private research institutions (Universities, Research Centres, Scientific Parks etc.) and industries (Large companies and SMEs).
- Students visits.
Dr. IssamTouhami, as INRGREF team member, was hosted at CREAF as visiting researcher, from September 10th to November 11th 2015, in order to increase his learning in GIS under the supervision of Dr. Lluís Pesquer. Also, PhD Student Sameh Cherif, as INRGREF team member, was hosted at CREAF as visiting researcher, from September 10th to October 11th 2015, in order to increase her learning in plant ecology under the supervision of Dr. Jordi Martínez.
Ennajah Amel and Ghazghazi Hanene, as INRGREF team members, were hosted at INRA as visiting researchers, from April 23rd to May 2nd 2016, in order to carry out experiments on vulnerability to cavitation under the supervision of Dr Nicolas Martin. Also, PhD Student Sameh Cherif, as INRGREF team member, was hosted at Universidade do Algarve Campus de Gambelas as visiting researcher, from October to December 2016, in order to increase her learning in diversity of water use efficiency and hydraulic conductivity under the supervision of Dr Maria da Graça Costa Miguel.
- Mediterranean Forestry Research to Innovation Neighbourhood Policy Guide (FR2I-NPG). The SAG was invited to actively discuss with the goal of assessing the forestry sector organization and development in two European and two Maghreb representative Mediterranean countries, which was the base of the FM guide. In parallel, a compilation of the information about national forest inventories and vegetation maps, national maps on land use change, topography, soils and erosion, climate, etc. from Spain, Morocco and Tunisia, was analysed in order to extract the principal unsatisfied needs of the sector for the SAGK. Equally, an assessment focus on forestry lessons learned, from interesting success cases to the problems related to previous mistakes was done and used to extract the principal guidelines and show principal bottlenecks to forestry innovation in the Mediterranean Region for the TMGK report. The principal results, more close to political issues, of these three reports were compiled and abstracted for the FR2I-NPG, providing a final set of political recommendations. Finally, a series of meetings and interviews with political stakeholders from the European Union and Maghreb countries have been used to correct in some cases, confirm in others and shape the guide. In the end, the aim is to offer useful facts, outline the needs and problems and, most of all, to suggest potential solutions supporting innovation in the Mediterranean Region forestry sector.

Potential Impact:
The ultimate goal of MENFRI activities is to support the European efforts to address global change challenges while promoting business innovation. MENFRI aims thus to help society to adapt to environmental change and to guaranteeing the sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services within a resource efficient, low-carbon and competitive economy. An important element to achieve these objectives is to bridge the gap between research and innovation by improving performance in managing, transferring and using the knowledge resulting from ecological research and forest management and by better aligning both research and economic objectives to societal needs. These efforts should result in a reduction of the main social concerns not only by direct action in order to face these problems, but by improving the availability of knowledge and understanding to the people.
Principal expected impacts are related to showing how entrepreneurs can work together with research and societal actors within the forestry sector. Such collaboration is considered essential towards the prosperity and democracy in the Mediterranean by developing new ways of “sustainable” cooperation based on synergies as it is mentioned in the joint SG-EEAS Communication on the “Partnership for Democracy and Shared prosperity with the southern Mediterranean” and the new ENP Communication. The MENFRI activities contributed to enhance cooperation between Mediterranean Partner (M-P) and EU countries on addressing key societal challenges of common interest as is the effects of global change in forest goods and benefits. The important dissemination phase at the European level ensures political support for the project as well as an impact and a visibility that will go beyond the end of the European Commission's financing.
All the mentioned products in the previous section and their expected impacts imply also two principal added values, which are: First, increasing the integration of Maghreb countries in European research and innovation activities. And second, enhancing effective mobility in the Euro-Mediterranean region, and attain brain circulation and knowledge dissemination.
At the end, the project has achieved all the proposed objectives, including the correct submission of the planned deliverables and the accomplishment of the proposed milestones in time. Among them, the Mediterranean Network of Forestry R2I matchmaking tool should become the first step in the creation of a Mediterranean Forestry Business Incubator, once the principal actors of the forestry sector are known and they are ready to actively collaborate. However, more important, the project has achieved in integrating its structure with several initiatives at the European and Mediterranean level. MENFRI is recognized and valued by stakeholders all over the Mediterranean as a potential tool of development which should be followed and maintained.
In order to take advantage of such network, MENFRI developed a Network for Development (finally the NODE: Node for Opportunities, Development and Environment), using an innovative multidisciplinary approach, based on effective, replicable and scalable modules to provide capacity-building to local, national and regional public administrators, local communities, researchers, entrepreneurs and schools in different locations.
The NODE aims to support the Mediterranean forestry, including social, innovation and development needs. In the near future, the NODE has the potential to become a driver at a regional level, positioning as the node to forestry related industry all-over the Mediterranean.
Other expected indirect impacts related to the project could be described as follows.
By promoting the strengthening of forestry industries in the Mediterranean will help forest owners and enterprises to integrate future global changes into market objectives. Threats and opportunities are intimately joined and the only way to face the former is using the benefits of the later. In the south, and especially in Morocco, where the third of the small farmers and rural population lives in or around forests dedicated principally to clearing, charcoal making and the recollection of fodder and forest fruits (acorns, mushrooms, truffles, herbs, medicinal plants, wood sharp etc.), this project could improve the living conditions of rural communities. Thanks to the development of their possibilities of association and business implementation, their ways of exploiting natural resources should become more rational and sustainable.
Moreover, the opportunities and integration of women in these populations could be improved. In fact, women represent 50% of the active rural population but they suffer from several problems such as illiteracy and poverty. Only 20% have access to professional training and 30% to school. According to the National Survey on the time-budget of women, rural women spend 14-17 hours per day working. They take care of livestock, fieldwork, collection and storage of wood, water and regular household activities. Moroccan rural women are responsible for the food security of their families because they are responsible for the processing, storage and marketing, which become essential during drought years. Studies have shown that women gather knowledge in water, biomass, and soil management and are thus actively involved in agricultural and forestry production, but it is still difficult to quantify its commitments.
By involving and coordinating SME’s in the project, MENFRI will help to connect them to EU policy and research development. The fact will improve coordination between the policy level and the main developers of forestry technologies on eco-innovation, avoiding duplication of research efforts and facilitating market uptake of available technologies. Potentially, the southern Mediterranean is capable of creating between up to 2000 high added value start-ups each year. Moreover, high priority sectors in the region identified by different surveys include the green economy and environment, sustainable tourism and innovative services.

Main dissemination activities and the exploitation of results
* WP1
- Collaboration with other INCO-R2I.
The objective of this action was to ensure an effective networking with other projects of interest and R2I ongoing projects (FP7-INCO-2013-9, R2I), to a mutual benefit for all partners, not only during the project duration but also beyond its termination. This task enables the transfer of knowledge and information exchange and the organization of common activities. The project manager took part in the following meetings and international conferences in order to support and increase the collaboration within the INCO-R2I program:
Kick-off Meeting of FP4BATIW (Barcelona 21-22/10/2013), INCO R2I project in the Mediterranean Area.
1st R2I Clustering meeting (Budapest 6/11/2013), networking session dedicated to INCO R2I, each project presenting its activities in order to identify synergies between them.
8th INTERNATIONAL LEARNING NETWORK (ILN) WORKSHOP (Budapest 7-8/11/2013). The focus of the event was on the different dimensions of innovation and on the role of international cooperation to foster innovation. Different stakeholders participated to discuss more in-depth how to set up innovation partnerships with third countries. Concrete suggestions and recommendations were presented to and discussed with EC members.
SUDSOE Conference and Seminar (Barcelona 13-14/1/2014). Hosted by SUDSOE (ERA-WIDE project) “Characterization and Sustainable Use of Egyptian Degraded Soils”.
Workshop: Towards a common EU-Med innovation agenda (Brussels 28/4/2014). The workshop was jointly organized by the Innovation Working Group of the Euro-Mediterranean Group of Senior Officials in Research and Innovation (EU-Med GSO) and the European Commission and supported by MedSpring regional platform in research and innovation (7FP).
2nd R2I Clustering meeting (Brussels 5/6/2014). Share updates on the different project activities; Report on coordination activities already held/foreseen among R2I projects; Brief on latest STI policy developments regarding cooperation with both MED and Eastern Partnership countries, and related perspectives especially in the H2020 context; Check synergies with other international support actions targeting both regions (e.g. BILATs, INCONETs,..), as well as activities funded by other DGs (e.g .DEVCO, ENTR,..); Talk about possible future joint activities and ideas to further deepen cooperation with ENP partners.
Weekly Skype meetings among the Mediterranean R2I projects coordinators (from 3/9/2014 to now on) in order to organize the next Innovation Week in Morocco from 2nd to 5th of March. A powerful event on innovation including workshops, trainings, roundtables and a brokerage event, it should attract the focus on the great innovation potential of the Region.
9th INTERNATIONAL LEARNING NETWORK (ILN) WORKSHOP (Brussels 27-28/11/2014). The workshop was organized in plenary and parallel sessions where different stakeholders discussed in depth how to foster international cooperation and innovation in Horizon 2020.
Meeting with Union for Mediterranean (UfM). Organized by MENFRI in the UfM headquarters (Barcelona) the 16th of December of 2014, it was a bilateral meeting to explore common interests and potential collaborations.
Meeting R2I Med. Held in the CREAF headquarters in Bellaterra (Barcelona), the 19th of January 2015, Meeting among the coordinators of the different INCO R2I of the Mediterranean (MENFRI, ETRERA, MARE, FP4BATIW, CINEA) in order to organize common activities and planning the common event in Morocco.
R2I Clustering Meeting. Held in the CREAF headquarters in Bellaterra (Barcelona) the 20th of January of 2015, it was a meeting among the coordinators of all the different INCO R2I in order to organize common activities and discuss potential agreements about the future policy guidelines that are the expected output of R2I projects.
Innovation Week. From the 2nd to the 5th of March 2015, in Casablanca (Morocco). ETRERA_2020, MARE, MAGHRENOV, FP4BATIW, SOHEALTHY and MENFRI, R2I projects currently working in the sustainable development of the Mediterranean Region, joined forces together and with other Mediterranean initiatives in order to organize a powerful event on innovation, the Innovation Week. Including workshops, trainings, roundtables and a brokerage event, it attracted the focus on the great innovation potential of the Region. MENFRI co-organized both trainings in business creation and Horizon2020. CREAF, WG, AlienorEU and UH2 were there to participate and help.
R2I Policy Dialogue. Held in Mesina (Italy), the 21st of September 2015. Meeting among the coordinators of all the different INCO R2I of the Mediterranean (Alberto Soraci & Nancy Deleo -ETRERA_2020, Gustavo Pérez - FP4BATIW, Christoforos Perakis – MARE, and Enrique Doblas - MENFRI) and an EIT (Claude Ayache - KIC InnoEnergy), in order to organize a common European policy strategy supporting innovation.
Meeting with Nicolas Robert (EFIMED). Organized by MENFRI in the EFIMED headquarters (Barcelona) the 4th of December of 2015, it was a bilateral meeting to explore common interests and potential collaborations.
Final conference FP4BATIW. Held in the Barcelona, the 13th of July 2016, the final event of this R2I project offer the opportunity to E Doblas to discuss about similar constraints in Mediterranean innovation. E Doblas also met with A Soraci in order to discuss the R2I Alliance and the Mesina points.
Meeting with Inazio Martínez (EFIMED). Organized by MENFRI in the EFIMED headquarters (Barcelona) the 13th of July of 2016, it was a bilateral meeting to explore common interests and potential collaborations.
R2I final inter-project meeting. Held in Barcelona, the 27th of September 2016. Meeting among the coordinators of all the different INCO R2I of the Mediterranean (A Soraci -ETRERA_2020, G Pérez - FP4BATIW, A Loesch – CINEA, and E Doblas - MENFRI) and an EIT (C Ayache - KIC InnoEnergy), in order to summarize key impacts & outputs, systematize indicators and provide success stories of R2I projects, prepare a letter to EC and sharp the 10 points of Messina.
EFIMED Week. During the event hold in Calabria on 8th November 2016, E Doblas contacted again with Giorgio Mosangini (SCP/RAC), manager of project Switchmed.
Meeting of EU funded projects in the EU MED area in preparation for the 21st meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Group of Senior Officials in Research and Innovation (Brussels, Belgium 21/11/2016). E Regairaz was there in representation of the MENFRI project.
- Brokerage event.
II Mediterranean Forestry Innovation and Development Week; workshops on forest products certification, social forestry and articulation of territorial networks and a brokerage event, with the attendance of government, industrial and social representatives.
The meeting started with the opening speech of Zouhair Nasr and Bouthayna Stiti (INGREF), who explaine the importance for the organization to be involved in MENFRI Project.
Enrique Doblas (CREAF, Project Manager) shows the project video. Main findings of previous meetings were illustrated. Some of the partners that are supporting MENFRI project were listed. Presentation of the matchmaking platform developed in the framework of the project. Further actions foreseen after the project closure are presented, as well as the main features of the node for development.
Leonor Lopez Vega (UNDP-ART Tunisia) presented the ART initiative and of its specific objectives for Tunisia, based in a territorial approach involving all the local actors and all the sectors in order to reach sustainable and integrated development. Synergies opportunities among local actors, international institutions and MENFRI project were proposed.
Youssef Saadani (DG, Direction Générale des Forêts, Tunisia) provided basic data about the forestry sector in Tunisia. Resources coming from the forestry sectors were listed, as well as the related employment and revenues opportunities. Strategies to exploit better the job opportunities offered by «the green sector » were proposed. The economic chains related to different forestry products were described.
Said Helal (FAO) provided data about employment rates of young people. FAO strategic objectives and some projects already implemented in African countries were presented.
E Doblas on behalf of Joachim Englert (Social Forest) presented Social Forest. Features of training courses delivered were provided and ongoing collaborations were introduced.
A debate was held on Forests and Employment in south Mediterranean
Faouzi Maamouri (WWF) and Rémi Sournia (PEFC) discussed about Certification as a tool for alternative management of south Mediterranean
The second day, Z Nasr and Hamadi Hebaieb (DG INGREF) gave the Opening speech.
Abdelhamid Khaldi (INRGREF) stressed the importance of innovation that permits to valorise forestry resources and, at the same time, also to preserve the forest. Tunisia climate and geographical conditions were presented, as well as the difficulties encountered in the conservation of the forestry resource. Some projects launched by INGREF in order to valorise forestry resources in different regions of Tunisia and to support forests’ economic development and the employment of their inhabitants were presented.
Then, different innovation and forestry stakeholders presented their companies and institutions: Omar Bouzouada (CETIBA), Mariem Megdiche and Belgacem Mezni (EPPM), Chedli Karra (DGF), Taieb Ben Miled and Gwendolenn Sharp (GDA Sidi Amor), Asma Khodmi (Coalition Femmes de la Tunisie), May Granier and Mariem Ben Abdallah (ATAE), Ati Souissi (Tunisia Ecotourism), Gianluca Rossi (Warrant Group), Susanna Bina (SDI Group Med)
In the later b2b meetings, the Forestry sector was presented as an instrument against unemployment and promoting collaboration among public, private and no profit actors. The activities aimed at supporting green and social entrepreneurship were discussed.
* WP6
- MENFRI presentation video. The first video product was an animation explaining the project context and principal predicted actions, edited both in English and French. It was launched during the first year on the project with great success. It has been used repeatedly as a presentation during different kinds of events.
-MENFRI success stories video. The second video product was elaborated after compiling material during the three years of the projects. It is based in images and, especially, interviews with people affected by the project. Experts invited during SAGs, stakeholders who attended the different workshops and brokerage event and students benefited by the visits program. It was launched at the end of the project with great success.
- Final conference and NODE presentation video. The last video product on success stories, specially directed to decision and policy makers, was produced thanks to the final budget effort of all partners. Using interventions during the final conference and later interviews with the principal speakers to sponsor the new platform, the video shows the great success and high level of the Parliament conference.
- Networking of MENFRI. Task 6.6 is the dissemination activities of R2I by networking of MENFRI during relevant European/Mediterranean Partner Countries international conferences. Monitoring the MENFRI Impact in media, other initiatives and the politics. Principally the project manager, but also other members of the MENFRI project (in order to take the most of the geographical distribution of the consortium) took part in the following conferences:
Canvi Climàtic: som a temps de mitigar-lo? (Barcelona 27/11/2013). Invitation to present the MENFRI project in one of a series of conferences called Ecotendencies Cosmocaixa.
European Forest Governance: Issues at stake and the way forward (Brussels 9/1/2014). High level panellists and the general audience gathered in the ThinkForest Seminar in the European Parliament. Three major topics were presented and discussed: the European architecture of forest-related policies and mechanisms, the legal, policy and political challenges for forest policy-making in the EU and Pan-Europe and potentially innovative approaches to forest policy in the EU and at the Pan-European level.
A New EU forest Strategy: Ensuring sustainable forest management for socio economic and environmental services (Brussels 21/1/2014). G Franco MEP hosted a conference in the European Parliament following the recent Commission communication in September 2013. This conference offered an opportunity for the leading Commission DGs co-responsible for the strategy to meet with the stakeholders and exchange on some preliminary thoughts.
Encuentro Internacional #1 de Arte y Ecología (Sierra de María-Los Vélez, Spain 17/4/2014). Invitation to talk about the MENFRI project in a conference about ecology and arts, related to the problem of land abandonment and innovation in the Mediterranean.
5th INCO Meeting (Athens 2-3/6/2014). The main objective of the conference was to highlight the need for global cooperation for addressing common challenges to secure a better future. Discussions addressed critical issues such as the future of research in relation to the global challenges lying ahead in order to acquire insight for future coordinated actions. To this end, invited speakers from worldwide organizations funding research shared their experiences, best practices and obstacles.
MEDLAND 2020's Policy brief (Brussels 6/10/2014). Conference presenting MEDLAND 2020: Seeking for innovative tools and solutions for an efficient, sustainable and smart conservation and management of natural resources in the Mediterranean.
Forest Management Workshop in Morocco (22-23/10/2014). FAO’s sub-regional office for north Africa and the Moroccan Haut Commissariat for water, forest and the fight against desertification held a sub-regional workshop on forest management and planning in Maghreb countries. Participants reviewed the methodologies currently used for forest management planning in the Maghreb and discussed ways to improve the sustainability of forest management and uses in the area.
Setmana de la fusta de Catalunya (Barcelona 27-31/10/2014). Invitation to talk about the MENFRI project in the Catalonian wood week.
VI Mediterranean Beekeeping Forum (Foligno, Italy 7-9/11/2014). Invitation to talk about the MENFRI project under the theme “Beekeeping, Common Good: from food security to environmental protection”.
International Agricultural and Gardening Machinery Exhibition, EIMA (Bologna 12-16/11/2014), to take centre stage on the world scene for the scale of the area committed and the immense ranges of merchandise as well as for the quality of the technologies on exhibit.
2014 PEFC Forest Certification Week (Paris 17-20/11/2014). Public Stakeholder Dialogue where the possibility of the Mediterranean certification was discussed.
SIS-RRI International Conference (Roma 19-21/11/2014). Science, Innovation and Society: achieving Responsible Research and Innovation Conference was organized by the National Research Council of Italy and the Agency for the Promotion of European Research under the auspices of the Italian Presidency to the EU, and funded by the European Commission. The debate during the conference produced the Rome Declaration on RRI which will represent an important step towards responsible governance of R&I at a European level.
Barcelona BioEconomy Forum (Barcelona 27-29/11/2014). A policy-oriented but science-based decision-making platform, bringing together top-level company leaders with policy makers, scientists and other opinion leaders. The focus was on the challenges of the Mediterranean area and Southern Hemisphere – with strong global connections.
IV Mediterranean Forest Week (Barcelona 17-19/03/2015). Spanish authorities welcomed this fourth edition in Barcelona focusing on improving livelihoods: the role of Mediterranean forest value chains in a green economy. The objectives of the IV MFW were to strengthen exchanges and synergies between stakeholders involved in the integrated management of Mediterranean forests and other woodlands, to promote innovation, cross-sectoral cooperation and the development of the economy to increase resilience of forested ecosystems, to involve key value chain stakeholders of goods and services provided by Mediterranean forest ecosystems in order to incorporate their expectations as well as cross-sectoral issues into National Forest Programmes, and to strengthen the link between specialists and decision-makers to establish a common vision of the future of development and management of Mediterranean forests and woodlands. E Doblas participated as invited speaker (19 March) with the talk: “Innovation for forest development”.
Building together knowledge-oriented and forward-looking EU neighbourhood (Brussels 31/3/2015). Developing a Common Knowledge and Innovation Space. E Regairaz was representing MENFRI.
The XIV World Forestry Congress (Durban, South Africa 7-11/9/2015). The congress brought together the global forestry community to review and analyse the key issues and to share ways of addressing them. The XIV WFC – the first to be held in Africa - was inclusive of people from all countries, regions and sectors, whether they belong to a government organization, NGO, private company, scientific or professional body, a forestry society, or simply have a personal interest in attending. The broad participation and inclusive discussion on forestry issues facilitated their mainstreaming in global agendas on sustainable development as well as built new partnerships. Z Nasr and A Khaldi presented a poster about MENFRI objectives and principal actions.
I Setmana Bosc i Societat. Interesting series of events organized by the forest sector (principally forest owners but also local governments, firefighters and research centers) in Sant Celoni during the first week of October, with the objective of approaching their issues to society. The 1st October, during the technical workshop “Els boscos. On som i cap on anem”, E Doblas and J Rovira talk about their experiences and the MENFRI project.
The Role of Bioeconomy in Climate Change Mitigation (Brussels 29/9/2015). The objective of this meeting is to explore to what extent and under which conditions the bioeconomy can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Estimates foresee a global contribution of the bioeconomy to climate change mitigation by 1 to 2.5 billion tons CO₂ equivalent by 2030. How can the EU unlock this potential? E Regairaz was representing MENFRI.
EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership Conference (Milano 18/10/2015). On the occasion of the EXPO 2015 (Milano), the Directorate for International Cooperation of DG Research and Innovation organised an interactive round-table the 18th October 2015 on the role of EU-Africa cooperation in science, technology and innovation supporting food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture and its roadmap. The focus was on the role of women and youth as game changers in the field as well as on other successful cooperation models with Africa. Best practices and lessons learned were shared by a variety of key stakeholders and international experts coming from public and private sector. The event offered a unique visibility opportunity which MENFRI enjoyed by the projection of the project video.
Towards a Sustainable Bioeconomy: Innovative Methods and Solutions for the Agriculture and Forest Sectors (Barcelona 21-23/10/2015). Developing a sustainable bioeconomy is a prominent strategy in the current European policy. While this offers significant opportunities for the forest-based sector, it also poses challenges for decision making, such as streamlining waste, energy, forest and agricultural policies. New evidence-based tools and innovative management approaches are already available, but more effort needs to be made to support decision making in sustainable land management. Enrique Doblas was representing MENFRI.
Forest contribution to sustainable development (Barcelona 10-11/11/2015). This workshop was part of an event organized by UNO in Barcelona from 10th to 11th November 2015 on connecting actors for the sustainable development under the context of the Agenda 2030. E Doblas discussed about the proposed subject and was invited to briefly present the role of women on forestry and their contribution for a sustainable development (11 November).
Cooperation of Regions on Innovation in Forest Management, Use of Wood and forest-related Services (Brussels 24/11/2015). The event was planned to show what Regions are planning or already implementing, to inspire other territories to make use of the available measures (particularly the setting up of EIP AGRI Operational Groups) and to establish cross-border cooperation, not neglecting other relevant tools (Horizon 2020, COSME, LIFE+, INTERREG, other national/regional funding instruments). E Regairaz was representing MENFRI.
PEFC Group certification field dialogue (Madrid 3/12/2015). During this vital conference on climate change, PEFC International and PEFC Spain brought together forestry experts from over twenty countries for a special field dialogue on “People, Forests and Climate Change”, focusing on how we can support forest owners to implement sustainable management practices and achieve certification. E Doblas was invited as expert, coordinator of the MENFRI project and collaborator of PEFC.
Europe Days (Tunis, Tunisia 24- 26/5/2016). On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Cooperation Agreement signed in 1976 between Tunisia and the European Community, the event aimed to raise awareness of this partnership, its ambition, history, projects, achievements and impact especially since 2011, and throughout this period of democratic transition. Through hundreds of projects, the EU and its Member States are involved in all areas of development, helping to strengthen the state and the emergence of an active and responsible civil society. Z Nasr was there in representation of the MENFRI project.
EFIMED Week (Calabria, Italy 7-9/11/2016). The meeting was conceived to explore how Mediterranean forests could better contribute to the creation of livelihoods, jobs and social opportunities for rural inhabitants and migrants, while also helping address other key challenges, such as energy, water and food security, mitigation and nature conservation. E Doblas attended as an invited speaker with the talk: “Supporting local innovation, growth and sustainable development through the NODE: Node for Opportunities, Development and the Environment”.
COP22 UN Climate Change Conference (Marrakech, Morocco 7-18/11/2016). Twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) and the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12). COP22 took over the reins from COP21 during which important progress was made. It focussed on action items in order to achieve the priorities of The Paris Agreement, especially related to adaptation, transparency, technology transfer, mitigation, capacity building and loss and damages. Signatories to The Paris Agreement now have to develop their National Adaptation Plans. Rachida Nafaa was there in representation of the MENFRI project.
Meeting of EU funded projects in the EU MED area in preparation for the 21st meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Group of Senior Officials in Research and Innovation (Brussels, Belgium 21/11/2016). Organized by the DG RTD, the meeting focused on the inventory of nexus-related actions and programmes in the Mediterranean Area and their impact/synergies. E Regairaz was there in representation of the MENFRI project.
- Meetings with relevant policy makers. Task 6.7 is the discussion and interface with relevant European policy makers and stakeholders.
Meeting with Gaston Franco (Member of the European Parliament, France), chair of the Forestry group of the EP Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”, to present the project and engage him in MENFRI’s work. Mr. Franco underlined the following points: at the EU forest is considered a « by-product » of agriculture and therefore needs lobbying activities on EU policies, especially for the Mediterranean forest. There is a trade deficit in the wood industry because, among other reasons, local wood should be valorised through public procurement. Organisations related to Mediterranean forests don’t communicate with each other so MENFRI is welcome listing these organisations and putting them in contact through a network.
Meeting with Francesc Gambus, member of EU parliament (MEP). The 20th February, J Rovira, T Matraia and E Doblas met with F Gambus, person in charge of the European Forestry Strategy, in order to discuss MENFRI policy strategy. He was gladly open to advice and took special consideration of the following ideas: the Mediterranean as a mosaic of land uses (which could not be managed as the more homogenous northern territories), the double benefit of conservation while sustainable exploitation, the risk of land abandonment in north Mediterranean, and the possibilities of business in an innovative forestry sector.
Meeting with the EU delegation in Morocco and HCEFLD. In the delegation headquarters (13 November), D Nils, P Le Bussy (EU), F Benchekroun (HC), R Sournia (PEFC), T Matraia and E Doblas met to talk about potential collaborations. Detected problems: lack of communication between HC and the society in general and universities in particular, women working without consideration and youngsters unemployment. Potential solutions: Integrative policies, mapping of the society, long term planning, social pacification. Delegation suggestions: Decision support, face climate change, women integration. PEFC: long term but stable certification program, potential of cork as a study case. MENFRI offered future expertise in communication-forestry support.
Meeting with the Governor of the Mohamedia Prefecture. M Ali Salem Chagaf met R Nafaa, T Matraia and E Doblas at the governor hall (13 November). He was very interested in obtaining socio-ecological databases and cartography of the Mohammedia region in order to feed GIS able to generate decision support. All collaboration would be performed through the university.
Bilateral meeting with HCEFLD. At Avanti Hotel (14 November). T Matraia and E. Doblas met K Cherki and M Amhajar (HC), who were very interested in the potential services of the future MENFRI platform: SIG training developed by MENFRI, organization of already existing but unavailable Moroccan databases, cartography and SIG, and pacification between the HC and the Universities.
Meeting with MEP Viegas. Member of the GUE/NGL group elected in Portugal, he was identified as having a potential interest for MENFRI as member of the Delegation of the European Parliament to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean, as well as substitute member of the Agriculture Committee of the EU Parliament (competent for forestry issues at EU level). He was interested in MENFRI as he is in contact with small forest owners in Portugal. He explained that they are working on gathering small forest owners into associations to improve forest management.
Meeting with MEP Paul Brannen. Mr.Bienkowski, member of Brannen’s team, was in representation of this member of the Socialist group and elected in the UK and very much involved in all forestry related discussions in the European Parliament. Mr Brannen took the floor many times during the discussions about the EU forest strategy and wrote many articles on the subject. He believes forests have a great role to play to fight climate change. He was very interested in MENFRI work as he explained that Mr Brannen tries to raise awareness about the role of forest in climate change mitigation but also as a job creator sector. He was happy that we were promoting forestry to members of the European Parliament working on different issues than his (i.e. agriculture and environment)
Council of the European Union. Following a proposal of the Luxembourg Presidency for an initiative on youth employment through vocational training in the Maghreb countries, E Regairaz met on December 15th 2015, Joseph Senniger, Policy officer “North Africa” at the Permanent Representation of Luxembourg. The first step of the strategy was the realisation of a study by the Ministry of Employment of Luxembourg that has been published and proposed the call of project proposals for the implementation of pilot projects in the Maghreb.
Meeting with Santiago Fisas, member of EU parliament (MEP). The 5th May, J Rovira and E Doblas met with S Fisas, member of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean and part of the Inter-parliamentarian delegation EUROMED, in order to discuss MENFRI policy strategy. He was gladly open to provide contact with Spanish and European Union Embassy in Tunisia and with Algerian and Mauritanian entities. He also proposed to organize a hearing at the EU Parliament.
II Mediterranean Forestry Innovation and Development Week. Organized by the project in Tunis, Tunisia, on the 12-14 May 2016.This event facilitated several meetings with Tunisian political stakeholders, among them: Mr. Youssef Saadani, former General Director of the “Direction générale des forêts” (DGF) became in 2016 General Director of the “Direction Agriculture”. Mr. Habib Abid, current General Director of the DGF. Said Helal, representative of FAO-Tunisia. All of them were grateful with MENFRI’s activities in the region and willing to collaborate with future NODE’s activities. The event also provided a closer approach to collaboration with the PNUD-ART in Tunisia through Leonor López Vega (Conseillère Technique Principale). Ms. López was very interested in the activities related to women empowerment and the direct relation between the improvement of environmental conditions and local development.
Telephonic meetings with Stefano Corrado (EU office Tunis). During the calls on 19th May and 9th October 2016, Mr Corrado informed about and provided contact with the Group of fund providers on climate change (from the World Bank - Tunis).
Telephonic meetings with Rafael Pañeda (Tunis Cooperation, AECID, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation). During the call in 20th May 2016, Mr Pañeda informed about an important Agroforestry Project in the south of Tunisia, were MENFRI could collaborate through the Operational Technic Office in Tunis, when re-opened.
Meeting with Almotaz Abadi in UFM headquarters. Member of the Water and Environment unit, Mr Abadi hosted E Doblas the 23rd May 2016, and suggested collaboration in existing (climate change) or new (forestry) Expert working groups. He showed his willingness to participate in the Parliament Event and invited E Doblas to the next 5+5 event.
Meeting with EC DG Near. E Regairaz met with Liselotte Isaksson, Head of Sector - Energy, Environment, Climate Change, Transport, Union for the Mediterranean and Ms Roxana Toran, Programme Assistant in the field of Environment, Water, and Agriculture on July 29th. They were invited DG Near to take the floor during the final conference of the project in the European Parliament. They gave us the contact details of the person for the SWITCH program and information on the ENPARD programme.
Meeting with Eric Andrieu, MEP. Around September, E Regairaz met with E Andrieu, member of the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament and active on forest related issues. He was interested in the project and advised us to contact the French Federation of Forest towns which represents the cities owning or exploiting forests and forests’ products.
Meeting with Santiago Fisas, MEP. The 28th September, T Matraia and E Doblas met with S Fisas again, in order to prepare the best strategy for the success of the MENFRI final conference at the EU Parliament.
EFIMED Week. Organized in Calabria, Italy, on the 8th May 2016, this event facilitated a meeting with Grammenos Mastrojeni (Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
- EU Parliament event
MEP Francesc Gambus welcomed all and remarked that the work of the MENFRI project has been in line with the EU Forestry strategy for which he was rapporteur for the Environment Committee. The strategy puts an emphasis on research and innovation as well as human mobilisation to maximise sustainable benefits of forestry. Long-term vision and immediate actions are mandatory. In that sense, the NODE, as next step of MENFRI, can help building more integrative strategies by including stakeholders from both sides of the Mediterranean.
Tomas Matraia, International Cooperation and Development Expert, stated that MENFRI, and now the NODE aim to ignite reflexions on major current issues. Scientific projects are instrumental to policy-makers for taking well-grounded decisions. As a multidisciplinary actor, the NODE could be a good vehicle of cooperation between Europe and south Mediterranean.
Enrique Doblas, CREAF researcher & MENFRI coordinator, presented a video showing success stories derived from the MENFRI project. Through MENFRI, he detected that certain administrative services needed additional training, information about certification, management schemes, etc. The NODE will be set up to tackle these issues.
Dina Ionesco, Head of Climate Change Migration Department, IOM, stated that migration is always multi-causal. Contemporary flows are usually a mix between war, environment and other issues. Migration should not only be seen through the lenses of tensions, tears, loss and damages, but also through hope and desire of building new lives in another environment. A first set of action lies in land rehabilitation actions, reforestation programmes, and modern ways of farming and producing energy, this is to say non-migration, allowing people to stay. Facilitating labour migration is an important aspect. The third way is through the diaspora reinvestments in their country of origin.
MEP Santiago Fisas took the floor to introduce the second session titled ‘A new approach to providing sustainable development solutions: The Node for Development’. He expressed the full support of the European Parliament for the project, especially on women inclusion aspects. He believes the NODE to be capable of driving such connexion since it is a very good vehicle for socio-economic progress.
E Doblas took the floor again in representation of the UfM, which signalled two potential ways of collaboration with the NODE related to water issues and as forest specialists within their climate change and environment expert group.
Then, a series of selected partners of the NODE were introduced: Xavier Noyon, PEFC International, Joachim Englert, Social Forest CEO, Rachida Nafaa, Dean of the FLSH, University of Hassan II, Casablanca, and Ramon Vila, Vision Communication CEO.
Enrique Doblas thanked all partners of the MENFRI project, which are also members of the NODE, including those who did not speak at this conference: Warrant Group, INRGREF and Aliénor.EU.
During the Q&A Session, Tamas Szedlak, DG AGRICULTURE, and Ernst Schulte, DG ENVIRONMENT, initiated an interesting debate.

List of Websites:

Enrique Doblas Miranda, MENFRI project manager and CREAF research coordinator
Tel. +34 93 581 4664
CREAF. Campus UAB. Edifici C. 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona)

Reported by

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top