MOVING partners meet for the first time!

by | Oct 19, 2022 | MOVING

Author: Miranda García (AEIDL)

Editor: Serafín Pazos-Vidal (AEIDL)

On 17 and 18 October 2022, MOVING partners met in Saignelégier, Switzerland for the Steering Committee meeting to take stock of the progress achieved during the first two years of the project and discuss the next steps. This was the first in-person meeting since the beginning of the pandemic back in 2020.

Our hosts opened the meeting with a presentation on the mountain value chain in the Swiss Jura value chain opened this meeting. The organisers put into the spotlight the added value of this region and also the innovative approaches carried out during the last years in terms of the production of the “super cheese”.

The coordinator of MOVING, Mar Delgado from the University of Córdoba, then gave an overview of the project.  Over the last couple of years  the project has progressed positively. A significant body of research has been carried out so far, MOVING can deliver more scientific evidence, and also partners will now be able to disseminate our findings in a range of events and publications.

On the first day, each of the project partners reviewed the work done so far on the Conceptual and Analytical Framework that is built upon participatory theory. How value chains can valorise the territorial capital in mountain areas was the question addressed during the session, pointing out the need of turning Socio-Economic Status (SES) outcomes into value, ensure continuity to value creation, and convert the non-economic value into economic value.  The importance of research questions, local perspectives, drivers of change and a clear understanding of pre-existing policies need to be properly embedded in such frameworks was highlighted.

A workshop was also organised on meaningful engagement in regional Multi Actor Platforms (MAPs). Participants pointed out the benefits and challenges of the stakeholder engagement process, how to keep MAP members interested, and how to co-create and co-work together with local stakeholders.

The vulnerability and resilience performance of the 23 MOVING Reference Region Value Chains (task 4.5 within WP4)was also reflected upon. This particular session focused on how to upgrade the strategies for mountain value chains by undertaking key steps to assess their vulnerabilities: overviewing drivers of change and identifying the most important ones, identifying exposure and adverse effects, verification of the impacts on VC-A, exploring adaptive capacity and reporting the results.  

The first day concluded with two special session, one dedicated to MOVING value chains and the other to MOVING regions. These presentations were carried out through a poster session and a series of videos, respectively.

The morning of the second day was devoted to teamwork. All attendees gathered together to brainstorm on youth engagement activities (task 1.5 within WP1). They also shared some ideas in order to collectively write additional scientific publications to further disseminate the body of evidence provided by MOVING so far.

There was a dedicated discussion regarding policy analysis and foresight (WP5), which will have a busy activity over the last year of MOVING. There was a rich discussion on the  guidance of the existing policies of relevance to mountain value chains and how to properly factor the administrative cultures and other pre-existing factors that either drive or affect  structural change and which exist at and local, regional, national, EU levels.

The event included a session with MOVING Advisory Board members Guillaume Corradino (Euromontana) and Riccardo Crescenzi (London School of Economics). Both shared insights on the challenges of resilience and sustainability that mountain areas face and on the global opportunities for innovation development in rural areas, respectively. Guillaume outlined the many additional opportunities that MOVING and Euromontana can collaborate in the future. Riccardo presented a significant body of evidence about the importance of Geographical Indication and Foreign Direct Investment strategies and agencies in driving mountain value chains’  internalisation in EU and global markets. The Next Generation EU funds together with CAP and Cohesion policy can act as drivers for such changes.

The Steering Committee, concluded with a discussion of the current status and progress of the project where Work Packages (WPs) leaders provided updates on the work carried out so far:

  • Good progress has been made in the development of land use systems and land cover maps in the 23 mountain RRs.
  • A participatory vulnerability analysis of value chains has also been produced as well as the first set of 23 Policy Briefs and Practice Abstracts.
  • During these months workshops were organised with local stakeholders.
  • The MOVING App has also been developed, having the pilot version almost ready.
  • The European Multi-Actor Platform (EU MAP) has also grown, currently with 54 members.
  • After its first webinar on Mountain Value Chains: heterogeneity and innovation, the MOVING EU MAP is going to organise a second one, in this case focusing on European Quality schemes and the added value for mountain value chains.
  • The European platform also contributed to two EU public consultations: Brain drain and Sustainable food systems.

The Steering Committee members agreed the next steps for MOVING:

  • Finalise the MOVING app by the end of the year and carry out the youth engagement workshops (WP1).
  • Include new concepts and approaches in the Conceptual and Analytical Framework in order to progress on the process of participatory theory building (WP2).
  • Produce and provide interactive visual tools that deliver actual information on assets, sustainability, and resilience of mountain value chains (WP3).
  • All partners will analyse the vulnerability of each value chain mapped and develop the digital stories (WP4).
  • Progress on the work packages: WP5 Cross-case comparison and benchmarking; WP6 Participatory multi-level foresight and WP7 Policy analysis and roadmap.
  • The MOVING Community of Practice will continue to carry out various stakeholder engagement activities, and thematic actions such as organising the second EU MAP webinar on European Quality schemes – the added value for mountain value chains, which will take place on the 8th of November.

Although project leaders will continue meeting each month virtually, all partners hope to meet physically soon.