Call for speakers

We are looking for participants who are eager to share their experiences during the XIII European Mountain Convention’s parallel workshops on mountain economies!

European Mountain Conventions are the biennial gathering of mountain stakeholders and are a great opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledge and to network with hundreds of participants from all over Europe.

Interactive discussions on how to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities of mountain areas are a staple of the European Mountain Conventions and the programme will feature 8 interactive workshops aimed at finding solutions to a range of issues.

Workshops’ topics

A total of 8 workshops are planned on various key topics for mountain economies. Each workshop will consist of a first part devoted to presenting inspirational initiatives and experiences (local policy, project, new methodology, innovative tools etc.). It will be followed by an interactive second part to discuss the solutions and tools needed. You will find below the list of workshops and a summary of the themes and objectives of each session.

Workshop 1 - How to bring more value to mountain agricultural products?

This session will explore strategies for enhancing the value of mountain agricultural products. It will address key issues such as the implementation of direct sales, the optimisation of distribution channels, the integration of organic certifications and the diversification of agricultural products (medicinal plants, vineyards, etc.). In addition, the challenges and opportunities inherent in mountain farming will be discussed, particularly in the context of climate change.

Workshop 2 - From raw materials to processing: how to bring the secondary sector back into mountain territories?

This session will look at transformative strategies to shape territorial economic landscapes. It will address issues that are essential to the sustainable development of mountain regions, such as the processing of raw materials in the mountains or efforts to attract other industries (for example in the biomedical or sports sectors), that can support the currently disappearing secondary sector and maintain added value locally. What are the initiatives that contribute to the wider objective of maintaining businesses and added value in the mountains? This session will provide a framework for discussion and for a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in territorial transformation, thereby influencing the socio-economic fabric of mountain regions.

Workshop 3 - How to tap into the potential of digitalisation for mountain economies?

This session will explore the transformative potential of digital technology and its impact on business models, employment and skills development. Its objective will be to discover innovative approaches to harnessing digital technologies for economic growth, and to explore emerging models that are redefining traditional work structures and training methodologies. The workshop will provide a framework for understanding the opportunities offered by digital technologies for economic diversification, and could also look at how AI can contribute to economic development in the mountains.

Workshop 4 - How to foster entrepreneurship in a context of demographic decline?

This session will look at crucial aspects of economic development and how public administrations can support SMEs, micro-enterprises and the self-employed. The session will explore ways to promote innovative legal structures, such as cooperatives and social enterprises. It will also aim to share approaches to stimulate innovation and support start-ups, particularly in promising sectors such as the silver economy, and to share strategies to promote innovative working environments (coworking spaces, clusters, networks of workspaces, etc.).

Workshop 5 - Working with nature: how to rethink tourism in mountain areas?

This session will highlight the key role of the tertiary sector in the mountains, looking at its future and the implications for the local economy. It will look at the prospects for mountain tourism, examining key issues such as support for traditional approaches to diversification or the search for new, innovative and disruptive ways of developing a different kind of mountain tourism. The workshop will specifically address the transition of mountain ski resorts and the strategic positioning around health and sport, which are receiving increasing attention. This session will provide an opportunity to delve into the many aspects shaping the future of mountain tourism, including strategic alignment with nature and the potential of new tourism businesses. For example, the workshop will discuss the concept of ‘nature as business’ (which encompasses rewilding, private natural areas and the development of new nature-based tourism products such as hunting or spiritual retreats) and whether or not these models should be encouraged.

Workshop 6 - Working for nature: how to quantify and remunerate ecosystem services from agro-pastoral activities?

This session will be devoted to the recognition, valorisation and possible compensation of the services provided by agro-pastoral activities in mountain areas. It will aim to explore strategies that reconcile the preservation of ecosystems with the economic well-being of those who contribute to their sustainable management. The workshop will seek to illustrate the concept through innovative examples that succeed in quantifying and remunerating the various ecosystem services.

Workshop 7 - Access to services of general interest: what makes mountain communities tick?

Life in the mountains has many advantages that are often overlooked or underestimated. Beyond the challenges associated with basic services such as health and education, life in the mountains offers a natural environment, a rich and diverse culture, and opportunities for personal and professional development. This workshop will aim to open a debate on how to change the narrative on quality of life in the mountains and how to recognise and value the role that mountain communities play in social and environmental well-being.  It will look at the importance of social infrastructures (e.g. third places and other community oriented facilities) and how diversified and sustainable economic activity can help to change the narrative on mountain areas.

Workshop 8 - Overcoming barriers to attractiveness: how to tackle housing and access to land?

This session will focus on ways to improve the provision of housing in mountain areas. In order to meet the urgent need for affordable housing, the workshop will explore innovative approaches to mobilising empty dwellings in rural areas. To promote a favourable living environment for both visitors and residents, strategies to support and better integrate newcomers and to provide essential services for families will also be discussed.

Presenting your initiative

We encourage mountain stakeholders from all over Europe to join the Convention and share their initiative (new policy, project, study, methodology etc.) on those topics during our parallel workshops!

We expect each speaker to present their initiative in about 15 minutes.

For each workshop, we are looking for initiatives that:

  • Come from European mountain areas,
  • Have a level of success in terms of impact and concrete and measurable results,
  • Contribute to making mountain economies more resilient and prosperous,
  • Are transferable to other mountain areas.

How to contribute?

Want to present your innovative initiative at the European Mountain Convention? Submit your contribution before 24 June 2024!

Please note that interpretation in English, French, Catalan, Aranese and Spanish will be provided for all plenary sessions but that limited interpretation will be available for interactive workshops. When possible, using English would be preferred. We kindly ask you to tell us in which language(s) you can comfortably present your initiative.

Speakers will be exempt from the conference registration fee.

If you have any questions regarding the European Mountain Convention or the call for contributions, please contact us.

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