MOVING mountain clusters: let’s explore them!

Apr 24, 2023

Author: Emilia Schmitt (UCO) and Miranda García (AEIDL)

From February 2023, the 23 mountain value chains studied in depth during the first two years of MOVING are grouped into five clusters. This clustering aims to develop a cross-regional benchmarking against vulnerability, sustainability and resilience criteria, focusing on the trade-offs between the provision of public and private goods in mountain areas (and much more…).

What are MOVING clusters?

MOVING will develop and implement the following five clusters:

  1. Social and demographic change (cluster S): led by the team from the University of Pisa, it deals with gender issues, the role of young people, depopulation, well-being, employment, social inclusion, new entrants and availability of labour.
  2. Value and quality products (Cluster V): led by the partners from VINIDEA, the cluster deals with issues touching on geographical indications, food quality, traditional production, cultural heritage and local knowledge.
  3. Innovation and infrastructure (cluster I): this cluster covers topics such as digitalisation and connectivity, high infrastructure costs, low investments, centralisation of services, digital skills, innovation and entrepreneurship. The leader of cluster I is the Zurich University of Applied Sciences.
  4. Nature and ecosystem services (Cluster N): The topics addressed by this cluster are landscapes, environmental protection, high nature value farming, regenerative and organic production, limits to growth and climate adaptation strategies. It is led by the team from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague.
  5. Governance, territoriality and cooperation (Cluster G): the James Hutton Institute is in charge of this cluster, which covers innovative governance forms, territorial integration, synergies and cooperation among value chains, interactions with tourism, institutional development, and dependence on subsidies or policies.

How were these clusters formed?

The process of defining the topics addressed by each cluster and selecting the case studies for each of them was iterative and combined several approaches.

In the first step, the University of Cordoba, the coordinator of the project, interviewed a representative of each MOVING Reference Region to extract 23 variables that represent challenges, success and failure factors in the value chains. Then, the variables were grouped into five thematic clusters, which were similar to the groups of drivers identified in the participatory appraisal of vulnerability and performance of value chains as well as in the multi-level foresight exercise, carried out in WP4 and WP6 respectively.

This grouping was combined with the STEEPV framework, which is often used in foresight analysis and was applied to do a clustering of European rural regions in POLIRURAL.

The STEEPV acronym stands for 6 clusters —Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Political/policy and Values—, but MOVING has adapted it to the specificities of the project.

How are clusters organised?

Each cluster is composed of five to seven of the MOVING case study value chains. One of them is the cluster leader. In the upcoming months, cluster leaders will valorise the work conducted in the in-depth analysis of the cases to develop cross-case analyses against vulnerability, resilience and sustainability criteria. Stakeholders will be involved by taking part in a questionnaire and participating in a common cluster workshop allowing stakeholders from all regions to meet in person and exchange for the first time.

To better understand how our mountain reference regions are grouped in these clusters, have a look at this infographic.

Cluster workshop

As part of the cross-case comparison of value chains and the foresight exercise, MOVING will organise the clusters workshop: Unlocking the Power of Mountain Value Chains, which will be held from the 6th to the 8th of November 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. The aim of the event is to identify gaps, discuss implications, and co-create recommendations for enabling environments in mountain areas, with a strong focus on the resilience and sustainability of value chains.

Please note that attendance is by invitation only.