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GEOfood higlight  of the Tuscan Mining UNESCO Geopark´s Green Community National Italian Meeting

The Park: a territory where sustainability can foster economic growth and innovation. From this conviction was starting the path leading to the national conference “Strategies of environmental, social and economic regeneration of the territories. Towards the Green Community of the Metalliferous Hills“, organized by the Parco nazionale delle Colline Metallifere – Tuscan Mining UNESCO Global Geopark, in collaboration with the Foundation for Sustainable Development and the ReMi network (Italian Museums and Mining Parks Network), coordinated by ISPRA (National Higher Institute for the Protection and environmental research). An event that took place in recent days in the Park headquarters in Gavorrano (Gr- Tuscany) and which brought together over 100 experts, institutional representatives, entrepreneurs and researchers from all over Italy who discussed good practices in Tuscan mining UNESCO Geopark, those of some others Italian Green Communities, energy and decarbonisation policies, regenerative agriculture and sustainable tourism.

During the central section the GEOfood Project was presented at the panel dedicated to regenerative agriculture.Much appreciated by many of the prestigious experts, GEOfood has been indicated as a good practice that allows food to be connected to the territory and its inhabitants, shortening the supply chain and making production and transformation processes more sustainable, in perfect line with the EU From Farm to Fork strategy and committing to pursue many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, through a participatory and inclusive process inspired by the goal 17 Partnerships for the Goals.

The conference outlined the next steps for the Park’s territory to become a Green Community as an aggregation of local authorities that develop integrated economic and social enhancement policies based on environmental innovation and the sustainable use of natural resources. Green Communities can be supported by EU Next Generation funds. In order to reach this goal, it was important to elaborate a Green Economy Plan. A first Report was published in 2019, realized after two years of investigations, to outline the state of the art of the green economy in the Park area elaborating diverse environmental and socio-economic indicators, a text elaborated by the Park in recent years with generic indications to the future. The new plan for the Green Economy (2022) presented at the conference defines concrete scenarios and – for the first time – project proposals or into play projects on sharing mobility, waste and water management, energy production and decarbonization, sustainable tourism and agriculture. “The Green Economy Plan – declared Lidia Bai, president of Tuscan Mining UNESCO Geopark – has as its first objective that of verifying the state of the art and understanding what the conditions are for a green future of the economy on the area. Once this data has been collected, we will have to continue setting adequate strategies to develop this process together with all the stakeholders: from local authorities to economic operators to citizens, for a great participatory process that has seen us engaged since 2010”. Edo Ronchi, president of the Foundation for Sustainable Development, underlined how: “The tangible experiences of territories such as those of the Tuscan Mining UNESCO Geopark are very important. The high quality of this internal and rural area demonstrates – he added – how good practices both in the agri-food sector and in tourism, implemented for several years, make sustainable development concrete and possible through support for green entrepreneurial activities, in the future we’ll have to pay more attention to circular economy and to the creation of green jobs”. For Nicola Verruzzi, mayor of Montieri and president of the Park Community (representing all the mayors included in the Park area): “The opportunities are countless and the first is dictated by the need to speed up the process of reconversion of our communities from an economic, social but also entrepreneurial point of view. We need to give ourselves medium and long-term goals to make the most of the great changes coming from technological innovation and set together new models of society”. “Parks can play a pivotal role in the development of the green economy – underlined Giampiero Sammuri president of Federparchi- Eruoparc Italy – especially if, as this Park shows well, they conquer more and more a space not only as areas where biodiversity and geodiversity are protected and enhanced, but also as laboratories for sustainable development. Right here we will be able to develop all-round how a green community truly has a fundamental value not only for the Park where it is born, but also for the rest of the territory and the local people”. All the documents, presentations and contributions of the conference speakers will soon be available in video format on the web-site of the Tuscan Mining UNESCO Geopark: www.parcocollinemetallifere.it  and on social networks. In the download sector of the website, you can download the New Report Plan for the Green Economy of the National Park of the Metalliferous Hills updated to 2022. ( https://parcocollinemetallifere.it/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Piano_della_Green_Economy_PN-Colline-Metallifere-2022.pdf

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