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Forum Carpaticum discusses sustainability, wellbeing and social innovation in marginalised mountain areas

Screenshot of social innovation session during Forum Carpaticum
“Social innovation is seen as a driving force and a means to promote sustainable development. As a product of the policy discourse, social innovation can lead to the promotion of civic values, delivery of support to communities, improved sustainability in the use of natural assets and advanced resilience of socio-ecological systems.”

Scientists from all over the world have come together in the 6th Forum Carpaticum to present their research and discuss the sustainable development of the Carpathian region and mountain areas more generally. The event was organised online by the Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Science, the Mendel University in Brno and the Secretariat for the Carpathian Convention with the support of several institutions, including the James Hutton Institute and the SIMRA network.

Prof Dr Maria Nijnik, as a member of the Steering Committee of Science for the Carpathians and of the Scientific Committee of the Forum, coordinator of the IUFRO Unit 4.05.05 - Social innovation and entrepreneurship and leader of a Forum session on social innovation, said: “Attention to social innovation has been rising, especially in marginalized areas, including mountains. We think that social innovation is becoming particularly relevant in the Carpathian Mountains, where market imperfections and a shortage of public funding are key obstacles on the way towards sustainability transformation.

“Social innovation is seen as a driving force and a means to promote sustainable development. As a product of the policy discourse, social innovation can lead to the promotion of civic values, delivery of support to communities, improved sustainability in the use of natural assets and advanced resilience of socio-ecological systems.”

The session led by Prof Nijnik was titled “The power of social innovation in mountain areas to steer a sustainable governance of nature” and was co-chaired by former Hutton PhD student Dr Mariana Melnykovych and by Prof Dr Manfred Perlik, a SIMRA project partner from Switzerland.

Findings from inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research addressing social innovation in mountain settings were presented. These included topics on how social innovation can offer transformative opportunities to mountain regions; on communities’ empowerment through carbon forestry initiatives in Slovakia; impacts of social innovation on inequalities in mountain–lowland relationships in the Swiss Alps; citizen science and adopting Living Lab approach to foster sustainability transformations in Romania; and how social innovation can foster biodiversity conservation through participatory management in protected areas of the Carpathians.

The session helped promote has advanced the knowledge of the role, power, and place of social innovation in the development of Carpathian socio-ecological systems, seeking to provide innovative solutions for green recovery and sustainability considerations, and innovative ideas potentially useful for policy makers and practice communities of different levels, with the aim of building the resilience to challenges (from local to global) faced by marginalised mountain areas. 

The session leaders formulated recommendations for the Secretariat for the Carpathian Convention, emphasising that social innovation has the potential to promote sustainable development and help reduce marginalisation processes.

While presenting the recommendations to the Secretariat for the Carpathian Convention and the Science for the Carpathians network, Prof Nijnik stressed that it is important to analyse, design and ensure the ways of how public and private sectors can better collaborate in developing social innovation initiatives, and how various partnerships and collaborations can enhance, scale-up and scale-out social innovations.

Dr Melnykovych added: “This is especially noteworthy that this year Forum gathered policy representatives of a number of the Carpathian countries, environmental NGOs working closely with local and regional authorities, and local stakeholders. We hope that our message to all on how to foster sustainability transition by empowering social innovation will be useful for policy and decision-makers, all relevant stakeholders and for people living and working in the Carpathian region.”

Notes to editors:

The aims of the 6th Forum Carpaticum on Linking the Environmental, Political and Societal Aspects for Sustainability were:

  • to advance Carpathian research on climate, water, ecological processes, nature conservation, sustainable use of natural resources, human-environment interactions, and education for sustainable development;
  • to actively encourage researchers and stakeholders to exchange ideas, knowledge and research results, fostering dialogue between researchers, policy makers, and practitioners;
  • to promote new inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary collaborations, establishing links between S4C, local and regional authorities, and local stakeholders involved in environmental management.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, James Hutton Institute, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/forum-carpaticum-discusses-sustainability-wellbeing-and-social-innovation-marginalised-mountain on 03/08/21 10:29:15 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.