The second International Workshop on sustainable agriculture and green rural development, Banja Luka, B&H

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The second International Workshop on sustainable agriculture and green rural development organized by CIHEAM Bari and the Directorate for European Integration of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina was held in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The main goal of organizing this workshop was to put together different stakeholders from Bosnia and Herzegovina and other EU and non-EU EUSAIR countries with the aim to support the EU integration process through sustainable agriculture and green rural development with a particular focus on the adoption of an integrated approach based on the EU Green Deal and the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. The event was attended by more than 50 participants, including 6 panelists from the Western Balkan countries that are SWG members.

At the first block of the workshop, two presentations were delivered as an introductory part for the workshop participants; “A Long-term Vision for the EU’s Rural Areas -Towards Stronger, Connected, Resilient and Prosperous Rural Areas, delivered by Ms Rouby Alexia from DG AGRI and “Sharing Rural Pact experiences and learning for the future” delivered by Ms Lidija Pavic-Rogosic, ODRAZ, Croatia. After intensive discussion, this part of the work was continued by several presentations of the Green Rural Development Successful stories from rural areas in Bosnia and Hercegovina.

The most intensive part of the workshop was the afternoon session on Integrated Approach to rural development in the EUSAIR region. Introduction to the topic was done by Ms. Gordana Rokvic, professor at the Faculty of Agriculture, the University of Banja Luka who moderated a Panel discussion on interlinks with other sectors (tourism, environment, energy, transportation, health), protection of ecosystem and land and water resources, sustainable use of pesticide and fertilizers, organic production, digitalization, circularity, connectivity with urban areas, social and economic challenges, etc. The main emphasis and contribution to the discussion were given by the panelists of the SWG agro-economic group from the universities of the Western Balkans who were nominated for the SWG. After an intensive discussion, proposals and conclusions were proposed, which will serve as an introduction to the work at the 8th EUSAIR Forum, which will be organized in May 2023 in Sarajevo.