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Panel 1: Actors' role in driving innovation

Find out what actions should be taken by different actors to promote eco and social innovations

Why multi-stakeholder collaboration is important?

While entrepreneurs and change makers might have the ideas for change, they cannot drive the change alone. The framework conditions and the entrepreneurship ecosystem need to be favourable. Available infrastructure, governance and regulations, markets, innovations and the geographical location can have indirect effects. Financing, training and capacity building, culture, networks, technical support and visibility can have direct effects on take up of innovations. In the Mediterranean region, many actors are working on these factors to drive innovations.


What did we aim at?

The objectives of the session were:

-  To highlight the role of various types of actors from intergovernmental agencies, national governments, business intermediaries to financing institutions enabling eco and social innovations in the Mediterranean.

-  To provide a basic understanding for the afternoon sessions, which focused on specific roles and actors that are doing projects in the region in support of eco and social innovations, green entrepreneurs and resource efficient SMEs.


 What action should be taken to support eco and social innovations?

The session was moderated by Enrique de Villamore, SCP/RAC Director, and the panellists were:

Ms. Alessandra Sensi, Senior Programme Manager, Secretariat of the Union for Mediterranean (UfM)

Ms. Douja Ben Mahmoud Gharbi, Vice President / Partner, CONECT / LiNXEO

M. Alvaro Porro González, Coordinator d´Estàrter

M. Daniel Sorrosal, Policy and Advocay Manager, FEBEA

In an interview style, panellists were asked to answer different questions. In a first round panellists explained how their organisations are supporting the development of eco and social innovations.

Ms. Sensi explained how intergovernmental organisations like UfM can support sustainable consumption and production practices. She specifically presented the UfM labelled project “Med ReSCP: POST RIO+20: Supporting the adoption of Sustainable Consumption and Production and Resource Efficiency models in the Mediterranean Region? that is being jointly promoted by EBRD, UNIDO and SCP/RAC. This project aims to provide access to financing for companies adopting SCP/RE models, in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia and develop demonstration activities for green industries, businesses and local stakeholders in the Western Balkans and Turkey.


Mr. Porro talked about how civil society organisations (CSOs) can support eco and social innovations.  He said that CSOs can

  • Empower communities facilitating  conditions for them to innovate and to face challenges;
  • Make community based projects such as eco social innovations projects visible;
  • Assume their own role as eco social innovators but not only as identifiers of necessities;
  • Build on competitive advantages of grassroots innovations compared to business innovations (community support, low investment that allows them to be highly experimenting, motivation richness of community lead initiatives, etc );
  • Make space for collective innovation projects within the eco and social innovation story and ecosystem;
  • Facilitate space for change makers to meet and get empowered and inspired mutually.

He also talked about the values, characteristics and potentialities of grass roots innovations community economies.

Next, panellists talked about what action should be taken in order to further support the development of eco and social innovations. They mentioned the need for further collaboration among all types of actors by for instance developing partnerships, facilitating access to finance, capacity building etc.

Following the general discussion, panellists explained how all those issues were going to be addressed during afternoon sessions. 


Let's continue the discussion

You can join and contribute the discussion on the role of different actors in driving eco and social innovations continuing in the session community here. You can also download the presentations here. In that community we encourage you to post your own reflections, experiences and questions. Keep engaging and shaping the content of SwitchMed Connect 2016.