Synthesizing and building on the outcome of the 1st day high-level conference, the BIOEAST Thematic Working Group on Agroecology and Sustainable Yields organizes a half-day thematic discussion. The discussions are planned to be organized in two consecutive panels: an open discussion and a closed section only for TWG members. The open session aims to introduce and inform the member states representatives about the future research and innovation priorities and funding schemes of the next Horizon Europe framework program with specific regard to soil, agroecology and sustainable intensification of the production. During the closed panel discussions, the TWG members will discuss the group’s terms of reference, action plan in the context of the future BIOEAST Strategic Research and Innovation agenda.

Horizon Europe (HE) 2021-27 will adopt a new, mission-oriented approach to boost the impact and visibility of the framework programme and to simplify the structure of European joint programing by introducing the new European Partnerships. Of the five mission areas agreed by the European Council and Parliament, the technical working group session will provide an essential overview of the Soil Health and Food Mission and the planned European Partnership „Accelerating farming systems transition: agro-ecology living labs and research infrastructures” explicitly addresses the importance of the ecological approach and agroecological intensification. The HE Cluster 6: Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment prioritizes the challenges that current agriculture practices face and puts the emphasis on a more environmental-focused, climate-friendly approach that helps the transition of agriculture toward sustainable production and food systems.

The planned partnerships in HE will be an important instrument within Horizon Europe to boost the regional implementation and to upscale agro-ecological production systems all over Europe. Furthermore, the scientific discussion around enhancing the effectiveness of agricultural systems through the adaptation of sustainable practices and technologies has been potent and is currently intensifying. Thus, the topic of sustainable intensification while achieving sustainable yields that determines the outlook of agriculture in Europe will also be addressed during the first part of the session.

Besides introducing the participants to the current international discussion around the next Horizon Europe with regards to agroecology and sustainable yields, the technical session will provide the opportunity to the representatives to comment and to engage in a dialogue with European policy-makers on issues specific to their national and regional priorities in Central and Eastern Europe. Therefore, representatives are encouraged to actively participate in the panel discussion and to consider the region’s contributions to the Horizon Europe framework. The second part of the technical session will be a closed meeting for the working group members only to discuss and debate in detail the objectives and planned actions of the working group in a more interactive manner.