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ROK-FOR: building regional cooperation and clusters

The conference focused on renewable energy and clustering, and included:

• a mentoring seminar for Croatian-Serbian stakeholders on regional cluster development,
• a day of presentations and discussions about forest biomass for renewable energy,
• a partnering event for consortium members to plan activities for the remaining 18 months of the project.

Presentations from Serbian and Croatian stakeholders at the conference emphasised the importance of not just talking, but of using contacts in the real world and showing stakeholders and businesses concrete examples of biomass projects in action. Dr Dijana Vuletić, from conference organisers the Croatian Forest Research Institute, made the point that it was so important “to see your neighbour doing it – it’s the practical examples and ability to see it in action which is important”. There was also an inspiring panel discussion with representatives from the partner regions.

The emphasis on practicality and sharing experiences (both good and bad) between regions in different stages of development continued in the partner discussions. RoK-FOR has developed four common themes or challenges between the regions, and has put together a Joint Action Plan with concrete goals for action. Study tours are planned to Austria and North Karelia, and the next RoK-FOR conference in February 2012 in the Basque country will include practical workshops to promote best practice examples.

More information: www.rokfor.eu

RoK-FOR is a three-year 1.7 million euro EU FP7 project, which aims to connect the forestry sectors of five partner European regions (North Karelia, Croatia-Serbia, Baden-Wurttemberg, Aquitaine-Basque country and Catalonia. It focuses on the fields of bio-energy, bio-based products and wood construction.

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