Euromontana held its second webinar on Smart Mountains on 14 January 2021 to discuss the possible contribution of Biosphere Reserves in achieving the EU Green Deal objectives. Co-organised by Euromontana, the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, the Perth College of the University of the Highlands and Islands and Chefs4thePlanet, this webinar gave the floor to European decision-makers, UNESCO representatives, biosphere reserve stakeholders and chefs to collectively reflect on the links between Man, nature, biodiversity and food in mountain biosphere reserves.
Martin Price, Professor at Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands, and member of Euromontana’s Senate, opened the webinar by noting the common interests of the MAB Programme and Euromontana with regard to sustainable development and partnership working. He noted that, of the 254 biosphere reserves in Europe, 121 are located in mountain areas. Prof. Price also pointed out that Euromontana will organise its XII European Mountain Conference on “Smart Mountains” in the Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve of Sila (Italy) on 21-23 September 2021 and cordially invited all participants to attend this event.
Biosphere reserves and the Green Deal
Euromontana then gave the floor to Frank Vassen, Desk Officer for the Birds and Habitats Directives at the European Commission’s DG Environment, who reported on the Biodiversity 2030 and ‘From Farm to Fork’ strategies and highlighted the possible contributions of biosphere reserves to achieve the objectives set out in these new strategies.
Meriem Bouamrane, Head of Section for Ecology and Biodiversity in the UNESCO MAB programme, insisted on the growing awareness of the interconnection between humans and their natural environment, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak. Building on its experience, UNESCO’s MAB programme brought various examples of reconciliation between humans and nature.
This webinar also gave the floor to actors from the field, such as Filippo Lenzerini, from Punto 3 srl, who shared his experience of UPVIVIUM, a “zero-kilometre gastronomy competition” carried out in 5 Italian biosphere reserves, including Sila, which will host the European Mountain Conference in September. Three-star chef in Annecy-le-Vieux and member of the Chefs4thePlanet network, Laurent Petit endorsed the idea that chefs today have a role to play in the transition to sustainable food. Mr Petit illustrated the contribution of mountain biosphere reserves to sustainable food, as he believes that ” gluttony is the key to ensuring that everyone has a clear vision of the natural world around us “.
This second webinar was an opportunity for the various mountain stakeholders to reflect on the contribution of biosphere reserves to the Green Deal. More broadly, the exchanges highlighted the assets of mountain areas in the transition towards sustainable and quality food systems. These reflections can feed into the debates for smarter mountains at the European Mountain Convention in September 2021.20 January 2021