PRESS RELEASE – ARTICLE
PRESENTATION OF THE REGIONAL ACTION PLAN OF THE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND OF WESTERN MACEDONIA IN THE FRAME OF THE ECOWASTE4FOOD PROJECT
In January of 2019, the Regional Action Plan of the Regional Development Fund of Western Macedonia, which was drafted in the frame of the ECOWASTE4FOOD project, was approved by the Joint Secretariat of the Interreg Europe program. The ECOWASTE4FOOD project: “Supporting eco-innovation to reduce food waste and promote a better resource efficient economy” addresses the crucial issue of food waste through the exchange of experiences and the improvement of regional policies for the promotion of ecological innovation in the project’s participating authorities, the improvement of regional policies and the promotion of ecological innovation in the project’s participating authorities.
The regional authorities participating in the project committed to work together, exchanging their experiences and know-how, promote in their territories eco-innovations to reduce food waste, as a way to move forward a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and to improve their own policies during the four years duration of the project, in particular by influencing or even by raising existing European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) within their Regional operational programs 2014-2020.
As a result of this commitment, regional authorities developed Regional Action Plans which aim at influencing the respective policy instruments of each region. Each Regional Action Plan defines actions relevant to the reduction and valorization of food waste whose implementation will be funded by ERDF funds.
The Regional Development Fund of Western Macedonia completed the drafting and the revision of the Regional Action Plan for Western Macedonia through a process that lasted 17 months, started in September of 2017 and ended in January of 2019. The process for the drafting, revision and finalization of the Action Plan is presented in the following diagram.
The process included the following activities:
- Research for eco-innovations in Western Macedonia and Greece and communication with the stakeholders-enterprises that apply them, in order to analyze the eco-innovations and to instigate their participation to project activities. The research began in September of 2017, was completed in February of 2018 and resulted in the identification of significant eco-innovations in Western Macedonia and Greece concerning the reduction and valorization of food waste and in creating interest from stakeholders to participate to the project’s activities.
- Participation to interregional workshops of the project that took place in different project regions and aimed at exchanging experiences and know-how in the reduction and valorization of food waste between partners and stakeholders from all project regions.
- Implementation of five cross-visits and one ad-hoc visit for the exchange of experience in Ferarra, Italy, in Poznan, Poland, in Seinajoki, Finland, in Devon, England and in Marseille, France. The objective of the visits was the presentation by regional stakeholders to representatives of stakeholders from other project regions including Western Macedonia, of eco-innovations and good practices in management of food waste.
- Organization of a cross-visit in Western Macedonia in April of 2018 during which the Regional Development Fund of Western Macedonia hosted stakeholders from the rest of the project regions and innovative practices for the management of food waste presented.
- Organization of six stakeholders’ meetings in Kozani with regional stakeholders from Western Macedonia aiming at:
- informing stakeholders,
- exchanging views about the needs of Western Macedonia in relation to food waste and to the support of food waste initiatives,
- involving stakeholders in project activities and in the formulation of the final Action Plan.
- Organization of the Peer-Review workshop in Thessaloniki, on December 2018, for the peer-review of the Regional Action Plans.
The Regional Action Plan of the Regional Development Fund of Western Macedonia was the result of the aforementioned actions of experience exchange through the following steps:
- Identification of stakeholders from Western Macedonia and definition of their role in the Regional Action Plan.
- Analysis of the internal and external environment of the Region of Western Macedonia to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as well as obstacles and requirements based on the technological, economic, legal, environmental and social context.
- Connection of ECOWASTE4FOOD good practices, identified as suitable to be transferred to the Region of Western Macedonia, to the Regional Action Plan.
- Definition of strategic objectives, priorities and timeplan for the achievement of the Action Plan’s main objective.
- Specification of actions and of the parameters of each action of the Regional Action Plan.
The main target of the Regional Action Plan is to avoid food waste through the implementation of actions aiming at reducing and / or valorizing food waste in the Region of Western Macedonia and through the definition of specific actions that could be include in Thematic Priority 3: Improvement of competitiveness of SMEs of the Regional Operational Programme of Western Macedonia 2014-2020. More specifically, the Regional Action Plan targets investment priority 3a: “Promotion of entrepreneurship, especially through the facilitation of financial valorization of new ideas and the support of the foundation of new businesses including business incubators” of the Operational Programme of Western Macedonia. Indicative types of actions of this Investment Priority include actions of supporting businesses in the application of innovations and/or results of research and technology.
The actions which are included in the Action Plan of RDFWM and are proposed to be integrated in the ROP Western Macedonia 2014-2020, are the following:
- Reducing food waste at the source: Application of innovative practices and development of new production lines or upgrading and improvement of existing production lines for the valorization of food waste or residues that are produced from the productive process
- Re-use of products which are considered today to be unusable or could not be sold: Application of innovative practices for the valorization of food waste resulting for the development of new products.
The calls of the Managing Authority of the Operational Programme of Western Macedonia which will include the actions of the Regional Action Plan, are expected within the first four months of 2019.
More information about the ECOWASTE4FOOD project and the Regional Action Plan can be found at: